For Immediate Release
June 21, 2021
Twenty Arizona Groups and Just Democracy Launch $1.5 Million Ad Campaign Urging Sen. Sinema to Choose Voting Rights for Black and Brown Arizonans, Not the Jim Crow Filibuster
Groups leading the effort include Rural Arizona Action, Arizona Coalition for Change, Mi Familia Vota, and the African American Christian Clergy Coalition (AZ)
ARIZONA — Today, twenty Arizona groups alongside Just Democracy, a coalition of over 40 Black and Brown-led organizations working for crucial democracy reforms, announced a $1.5 million ad campaign targeting Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for siding with anti-democratic actors on the filibuster and standing in the way of voting rights for Black and Brown Arizonans and people nationwide. Arizona partners in the effort include the Arizona Advocacy Network, the African American Christian Clergy Coalition (AZ), Mi Familia Vota, and Rural Arizona Action, among many others (full list below).
The new TV ads will run across Arizona, featuring local advocates, faith leaders and community organizers urging Sen. Sinema to deliver on her campaign promise to protect voting rights and stand up for Arizonans. The ads also call upon Sen. Sinema to support elimination of the filibuster and vote yes during the upcoming Senate floor vote on the For The People Act (S.1) expected this week.
The coalition announced this effort following an appearance by Sen. Sinema alongside Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), where she falsely called the filibuster a tool to “protect the democracy of our nation,” only weeks after failing to vote to create a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol. She made the appearance alongside Sen. Cornyn amid Republicans in the Texas state legislature attempting to roll back voting rights, stopped only by Democratic lawmakers who orchestrated a walkout. What’s more, just last week Sen. Sinema chose not to attend a lunch with Texas Democrats aimed at demonstrating support for the For The People Act and equal voting rights.
Sen. Sinema’s anti-voting rights actions speak louder than her words—that’s why Black and Brown leaders in Arizona and nationwide are speaking out and holding her accountable:
“In her own state, voting rights are under attack that threaten our democracy. We are calling on Sen. Sinema to do her job, protect our democracy and not forget the Black and Brown voters that put her in a position to make change—we certainly will not forget,” said Rev. Dr. Reginald Walton, Chair of Civic Engagement for the African American Christian Clergy Coalition in Arizona who is featured in the ad.
“I don’t understand Sen. Sinema’s fascination with ‘bipartisanship’ when Republicans have set Arizona’s democracy on fire,” said Channel Powe, a community activist in Arizona who is featured in the ad. “Arizonans are fed up. I urge Sen. Sinema to support the For The People Act and ensure that my and future generations will have access to fair and equal voting rights.”
“As an organizer, I have watched other young people in my community lose faith in our democracy as a direct result of Sen. Sinema’s betrayal of her campaign promises to us,” said Allie Young, a Diné (Navajo) activist featured in the ad. “My ancestors fought hard for our right to vote, and I’m shocked that Sen. Sinema can’t see how vital it is to do everything we can to protect our voting rights when Republicans in Arizona are actively rolling back protections.”
“Voting is a right all Americans deserve, so it’s extremely disappointing that Sen. Sinema is siding with the proponents of restrictive voting laws that so often impact Black and Brown Americans,” said Shelley Jackson, a school board member and community organizer featured in the ad. “I refuse to allow the students in my community to grow up in a country where our senators don’t support equal voting rights for all.”
“The filibuster has long been a roadblock in the way of democratic initiatives, it's time to end the filibuster and pass S.1," said Patrick Morales, Legislative Director, Arizona Students' Association. "The rise of voter suppression bills in Arizona and throughout our nation only highlights the need to pass S.1, and to do so by getting rid of outdated jim crow roadblocks like the filibuster."
“Sen. Sinema must listen to her constituents to end the Filibuster. As a DACA recipient and mother of a U.S. citizen whose vote is under attack by more than two dozen voter suppression bills in Arizona, the For The People Act is a mixed-status family priority,” said Karina Ruiz De Diaz with the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. “Ending the filibuster will also mean a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented folks including me and my mother; we are the main reason why my son voted last November.”
Statement from the Arizona Coalition for Change: “Anti-democratic actors have been working long and hard to make Black and Brown Arizonans second-class citizens of our state. By allowing the filibuster to stand in the way of true reform, Sen. Sinema is indirectly siding with those same anti-democratic actors. Sen. Sinema promised to stand up for democracy, fight for our community, and be an advocate for all Arizonans. Unfortunately, it appears that the most vulnerable citizens being targeted are not included in that ALL. This week, we will see who you truly stand with and our hope is that you stand with the majority of Arizonans fighting for our basic rights as citizens. Support the For the People Act."
“It is incredibly disappointing to watch Sen. Sinema’s actions hold Arizonans back from progress on crucial issues like gun violence prevention,” said Geraldine Hills, Founder and President of Arizonans for Gun Safety. “Unless Sen. Sinema votes yes on eliminating the filibuster, and supports equal voting rights for all, she will be remembered by history as a barrier to progress and equality for Black and Brown Arizonans.”
“Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, time is running out. It's either the Jim Crow Filibuster or Democracy, we can't have both,” said Patti Serrano of the Progressive Democrats of America - Arizona. “The people of Arizona have decided and expect delivery on promises. We are holding accountability in our best interests for protection and expansion of our voting rights, the Equality Act, Immigration Reform, bold action on the climate emergency, and other urgently needed policies. We urge you to join your constituents and work to end this obstruction to governance. Join the people of Arizona and let's end the filibuster.”
“Black and Brown constituents voted Sen. Sinema into office, and it’s clear that our lives will not be protected unless we get rid of the Jim Crow-relic known as the filibuster,” said Matthew Marquez, Campaigns Director for the Arizona Working Families Party. “Sen. Sinema must decide what side of history she wants to be on: the one that defends voting rights for Black and Brown Arizonans, or the one that allows opponents of equal voting rights to topple our democracy.”
"Free access to the polls is essential for our democracy to function. As an organization that promotes direct democracy and engagement in state and local government, Civic Engagement Beyond Voting strongly supports the protections in the For the People Act to override the obstacles that Arizona lawmakers have put between voters and the ballot,” Catherine Sigmon, Co-Founder of Civic Engagement Beyond Voting. “We urge Senator Sinema to value the rights of voters above the fantasy of partnership with the very politicians who don't believe everyone should vote."
“I fight against voter suppression everyday in my home state of North Carolina, and it’s a shame to see Sen. Sinema blocking the work that so many other Black and Brown organizers across the country have done to ensure equal voting rights for every American,” said Marcus Bass, Just Democracy Spokesperson and Deputy Director of the North Carolina Black Alliance. “I urge Sen. Sinema to understand that the filibuster is not a tool for democracy but instead a tool to uphold racism. It must be eliminated, and the For The People Act must be passed, or we will never be able to move past our racist history. Her actions are not just hurting Arizonans, but Black and Brown voters across the country.”
“We are proud to join this fight to pass the For the People Act, it is critical that we safeguard the right for Latinos and everyone to vote,” said Sandy Ochoa, Tucson Coordinator for Mi Familia Vota. “We know the stronger the democracy, the better off everyone in our community will be. We are calling on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to join us and help protect our democracy and eliminate the filibuster and pass the For our People Act.”
"As a Veteran of three wars, I know the importance of democratic values. Foundational to those values is the right to vote in free and fair elections,” said AZ Veterans Hall of Fame member (2009) & Military Leadership Alliance President David F. Lucier. “There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it...without free and fair elections, America dies a slow and painful death. I urge all elected officials to act now to pass the For the People Act because unless we are successful in the short term, there will be no long term."
"When more people have a say in elections, our democracy is stronger and that's what S.1 is about. We encourage Senator Sinema to not only vote to expand voting rights but also to end the filibuster,” said Eva Putzova, Co-Founder of Catch Fire Movement and former Flagstaff City Councilmember. “If her main interest is bi-partisanship, we believe it's easier to achieve that with 51 rather than with 60 votes. The filibuster is, in fact, standing in the way of the very principle she prioritizes in her policymaking."
"Over the last election cycles, rural Arizona has seen a continuous increase in voter turnout with millions of people ensuring their voice is heard. Now more than ever, voting rights need to be at the forefront of issues we must address head on. Eliminating the filibuster and passing legislation to expand voting rights is pivotal for the progress and security of our democracy,” said Michael O'Connell, Campaign Manager at Rural Arizona Action. “We must pass S.1, the For the People Act, which is the biggest piece of voting rights legislation since the Civil Rights Movement. The filibuster is our only obstacle to passing this legislation and we have the opportunity to end it, if our Senators will listen to their constituents. If passed, the For the People Act would expand access to the ballot to over 50 million people, predominantly from Black and Brown communities. This bill would all make voting easier, accessible, and more secure for rural Arizonans. Amplify rural voices with the For the People Act."
"We are running out of time to protect our democracy in Arizona. During normal times, there is value in finding common ground. However, when no Republicans will step up to defend what is right, bipartisanship for the sake of it is not worth the price of our freedom to vote,” said Xenia Orona, Co-Executive Director of Fuerte Arts Movement. “With extremists abusing their power at the statehouse to threaten our rights, Sinema needs to get out of her own way, drop support for the filibuster, and champion the For the People Act."
“Black voters turned out in massive numbers last November to deliver Democrats their majority, including Sen. Sinema’s seat—now, Sinema needs to deliver on the promises she made,” said Mondale Robinson, Just Democracy Spokesperson and Founder of the Black Male Voter Project. “Sen. Sinema needs to ask herself if she will choose the filibuster or the values of equality and justice embodied by her late hero Rep. John Lewis.”
“Sen. Sinema is betraying the Black and Brown constituents who voted her into office if chooses a Jim Crow relic over voting rights,” said Just Democracy Spokesperson and Founder of Truth & Conciliation Rev. Dr. Stephany Spaulding. “The filibuster is blocking critical legislation to protect and uplift Black and Brown Americans. If we don’t eliminate it, we risk losing voting rights, the opportunity to end police violence in Black and Brown communities, and so much more. Unfortunately, Sen. Sinema has made it clear that she’ll prioritize working with Republicans over fighting for a more just democracy. We hope she makes a different choice this week.”
“To care for the Veteran population in the simplest way is to honor their sacrifice. How many more years must we endure the ‘thanks’ for our service without the legislative changes required to ensure we can all thrive as Americans?” said USMC Veteran and Co-Founder of AZ VetsForward Joanna Sweatt.
“Black and Brown Arizonans deserve the right to vote and the ability to hold our elected officials accountable. The Senator's decision to stand against reforms to democracy is appalling and Poder Latinx will be holding her accountable,” said Josue Andonaegui, Arizona State Director of Poder Latinx.
“Arizonans are currently facing a barrage of attacks on our freedom to vote from our state legislature. We need federal legislation to protect our democracy, and we need it now. Senator Sinema should be fighting for us, not defending a Jim Crow relic that's standing in the way of the progress we need," said Emily Kirkland, Executive Director of Progress Arizona.
Find the full list of Arizona groups behind this campaign here:
African American Christian Clergy Coalition
Arizona Advocacy Network
Arizona Coalition for Change
Arizona Dream Act Coalition
Arizona Students' Association
Arizona Working Families Party
Arizonans For Gun Safety
AZ Veterans & Military Leadership Alliance
Catch Fire Movement
Civic Engagement Beyond Voting
Fuerte Arts Movement
Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA)
Mi Familia Vota
Progressive Democrats of America - Arizona
Rural Arizona Action
Tucson Jobs with Justice
About Just Democracy
Just Democracy is an intersectional coalition with racial justice at its core — uplifting voices from all walks of American life that are too often left out of the conversation. The coalition is made up of over 40 Black and Brown-led organizations working across issue areas. It mobilizes thousands who know that advancing social and racial justice issues first requires bold structural democracy reform.
To speak with a Just Democracy spokesperson, please email email@example.com.