United Against Hate coalition asks Arizona legislators to sign pledge
PHOENIX — Just ahead of Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State address Monday afternoon, a coalition called “United Against Hate” delivered what the group called the People’s State of the State.
About 200 people gathered outside the Arizona State Capitol to tell the legislature they will not tolerate hate and discrimination.
The leader of the group “Communities Engaged” said it is putting legislators “on notice.”
“We are all here together to stand up against anti-hate rhetoric, speech, and most importantly, legislation,” said Channel Powe, founder of Communities Engaged.
The “United Against Hate” coalition is asking legislators and the governor to each sign a pledge that says they will commit to protecting human and civil rights and discourage any legislative policy that institutionalizes social injustice.
The pledge reads in part, “I believe that every individual is entitled to dignity and respect, without prejudice toward race, color, gender, identity, disability, language, religion or lack thereof, creed, national origin, age, sexual orientation, and economic status.”
Imraan Siddiqi, Executive Director of the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said divisive rhetoric can breed hate crimes.
“When one is affected by a hate crime, it affects us all, and we’re going to be standing together on all of this,” Siddiqi said.
The director of the Puente Human Rights Movement, Francisca Porchas, said they’ll be knocking on legislators’ doors and asking them to sign.
“I’m hoping a lot of legislators sign this pledge. It’s very symbolic, obviously. We’re going to be both a watchdog, but also an action group,” said Porchas.
Porchas said if any legislators don’t sign the pledge, that will let the coalition know where those legislators stand.
“This is a pledge of essentially no harm; no harm against a lot of the communities we represent. We want to ensure that Arizona legislators represent everyone in this community. It’s a very diverse community,” Porchas said.