For Immediate Release
July 22, 2021
Arizona Groups and Just Democracy Launch New Six-Figure Ad Calling Out Sen. Sinema for Prioritizing the Jim Crow Filibuster Over Voting Rights for Black and Brown Arizonans
ARIZONA — Today, twenty-two Arizona groups alongside Just Democracy, a coalition of nearly 50 Black and Brown-led organizations working for crucial democracy reforms, announced a new, six-figure ad campaign targeting Sen. Sinema (D-AZ) for prioritizing the filibuster over voting rights for Black and Brown Arizonans. Airing across on TV Arizona, the new campaign follows the coalition’s recent $1.5 million campaign (“Words” and “Thumbs Down”) that made waves in late June.
Following the first ad campaign, local organizers rallied outside of Sen. Sinema's office while chanting "eliminate the filibuster," resulting in over thirty arrests. According to a recent poll commissioned by filibuster elimination group Fix Our Senate, the onslaught of actions and ads holding Sen. Sinema accountable are making an impact. The new polling suggests Sen. Sinema's filibuster position is affecting her approval ratings. The numbers indicate: “Arizona voters are not only better-informed about Senator Sinema’s position on the filibuster but also less likely to oppose filibuster reform.”
Launching amid the countdown to secure voting rights before the 2022 primary, the ads feature local advocates, faith leaders and community organizers strongly urging Sen. Sinema to deliver on her campaign promise to protect voting rights for Black and Brown Arizonans.
Black and Brown leaders in Arizona and nationwide are speaking out:
“During the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke against the filibuster in the U.S. Senate being used to block and stop civil and voter rights legislation in the Jim Crow Era of the USA,” stated the Arizona-based African American Christian Clergy Coalition. “Some 60 years later, again the filibuster is being used by Republicans to do nothing to reverse new voter suppression laws in numerous states and judicial decisions eroding the Voter Rights Act of 1965. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, how long will you stand with the Republican Party dismantling the hard-fought gains for voter rights in America, especially for those of us who are people of color?”
“Senator Sinema must act on the filibuster because our democracy is in danger if we do not push back on voter suppression laws, especially in BIPOC communities,” said Allie Young, a Diné (Navajo) activist. “We’ve already seen some bills become laws in Arizona and it is my fear that those decisions will discourage Native American voter turnout, but we have to keep rising up and fighting for our rights. We owe it to our ancestors.”
“Senator Sinema is fixated on the idea of bipartisanship, but Republicans have shown they’re only interested in attacking our right to vote, not compromising,” said Channel Powe, Community Activist. “By pretending she’s building bridges when she’s really sacrificing the needs of her constituents, Sen. Sinema is disrespecting all the activists who worked to put her in office. If she doesn’t protect our right to vote, history will remember that she stood with segregationists instead of her community.”
“At this point Senator Sinema refusing to end the filibuster has led her to being called out by her colleagues in congress, civil rights leaders across the country, and most importantly her voters back in Arizona,“ said Shelley Jackson, a school board member and community organizer. “Her disregard for what this means for Black and Brown voters all over the country doesn’t line up with her words nor her admiration for the late John Lewis. I join countless other Arizonans in urging Sinema to end the filibuster. Her choosing to do nothing, is choosing to maintain the status quo and uphold white supremacy.”
“Latinx voters are the bedrock of Arizona’s Democratic Party, but Senator Sinema is turning her back on us,” said Josue Andonaegui, Arizona State Director of Poder Latinx.
“Senator Sinema is seemingly ignoring the crucial role we played in her election, since she’s standing by while our voting rights are being rolled back here in Arizona and across the country. As much as she pretends otherwise, the only way to get anything done is to eliminate the filibuster, so Sen. Sinema must swallow her grandiose ideas of self-importance in order to put the people of Arizona first and pass voting rights legislation.”
"The vote is fundamental and foundational to the preservation and advancement of the American experience," said David Lucier, President of the Arizona Veterans & Military Leadership Alliance. "Therefore, I am urging Senator Sinema to take the steps necessary to insure that every qualified American has the ability to vote.”
“Voter suppression is injustice, and we cannot stand by and allow injustice in any form to persist, said Dr. Helen Hunter, Pastor at Queen Creek Mission in Arizona. “We raise our voices to the divine call that all people are created equal, and deserve equal voices in our government regardless of color, creed, or religion. We cannot make strides toward a more equal system if the most powerless among us are silenced, and Sen. Sinema must stand up for the powerless by defending their right to vote.”
“In Arizona we are experiencing voter suppression and a real threat to voter rights, specifically minorities,” said Karina Ruiz, Executive Director of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. “We as immigrants and people of color are proud to fight alongside our Black brothers and sisters to end the filibuster. Today, more than ever,Senator Sinema, must end or reform the filibuster to protect the vote of Brown folks like my son, who voted for the first time in the past election to make sure his DACAmented mother and undocumented grandparents have a pathway to citizenship, and that one day I could also vote and my voice is counted in our democracy.”
“As a statewide grassroots organization empowering ordinary Arizonans to engage with their state government, it’s disheartening to see the AZ Legislature limit free and equitable access to the ballot,” said Catherine Sigmon, co-founder of Civic Engagement Beyond Voting. “Our very democracy depends on encouraging citizens to participate in elections, and we strongly urge Senator Sinema to find a way to actually pass the For the People Act, which she co-sponsored and says she supports.”
"Last year, Arizonans turned out in record numbers, despite a deadly pandemic. But now politicians are spreading lies about an election that trusted officials conducted and verified, and then crafting election laws based on those lies,” said Emily Kirkland, Executive Director of Progress Arizona. “We need federal standards to protect our freedom to vote, and we can't afford to let the filibuster stand in the way. Senator Sinema, it's time to eliminate the filibuster -- our democracy depends on it."
"Living United for Change in Arizona is fighting tooth and nail to stop voter suppression at the state legislature,” said Amandua Lugo, Democracy Director at LUCHA.“But the fact that we are having this fight at all shows that federal legislation is sorely needed. Unfortunately, as Arizona advocates have long feared and warned, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema stands in the way. That is why we are calling on her to stand with Arizona voters and end the filibuster."
"Arizona Students deserve a right to have their votes heard and protected. Senator Sinema represents the last voice in the defense of the filibuster and the last roadblock to achieving voting rights for all people,” said Patrick Morales, Legislative Director of the Arizona Students' Association. "Senator Sinema continues to deter democracy by supporting the filibuster — a roadblock to countless policies that will benefit all people."
"Republicans’ assault on voting rights in states around the country is a direct attack on the ability of disabled veterans to exercise our own right to vote,” said Joanna Sweatt, Lead Organizer of Common Defense Arizona and Co-Founder of AZ VetsForward. “In Arizona, we are already fighting gerrymandered districts, unnecessary voting recounts, and voter records purging. The Senate’s failure to take action on the For the People Act is a failure to stand by those who put their lives on the line for their country, including Arizona’s Native populations, which have an esteemed legacy of service in the U.S. military. We’re ashamed and disappointed that so-called allies of veterans in the Senate continue to obstruct legislation that will directly help disabled veterans participate in the democracy we fought to protect."
"Over the last election cycles, rural Arizona has seen a continuous increase in voter turnout as millions of people fight to ensure their voice is heard. Now more than ever, voting rights are central to addressing the issues we care most about changing,” said Michael O'Connell, Campaign Manager for the S1 Rural Advocacy Campaign at Rural Arizona Action (RAZA). “Eliminating the filibuster and passing legislation to expand voting rights is pivotal for the progress and security of our democracy. We must pass S.1, the For the People Act, which is the biggest piece of voting rights legislation in many of our lifetimes. The filibuster is our only obstacle to passing this legislation and we have the opportunity to end it. If passed, the For the People Act would expand access to the ballot to over 50 million people, predominantly for Black and Brown communities. This bill would make voting easier, accessible, and more secure for rural Arizonans. Amplify rural voices with the For the People Act."
“The Latino vote is under attack from the governor, and conservatives all over the country. We need Senator Sinema to act on the filibuster, so that we can pass the For The People Act, which will protect our vote and put an end to the vile voter suppression tactics coming from conservatives,” said Sandy Ochoa, Tucson Coordinator for Mi Familia Vota. “Our community can not wait for this change, the attacks on our voting rights are happening now. Senator Sinema, please work with us to protect our democracy.”
"Unfortunately, Sen. Sinema has proved time and time again that she is not willing to listen to the people of Arizona. The people who got Sinema elected are no longer willing to stand by as she supports a tool that has been used to harm BIPOC communities since its inception. Today we say enough is enough,” said Matthew Marquez, Campaigns Director for the Arizona Working Families Party.
"The filibuster is not about deliberation or bipartisanship. It was created and has always been used to deny people their Constitutional rights,” said Geraldine Hills, Founder and President of Arizonans for Gun Safety. “It is time for Sen. Sinema to eliminate this tool wielded by anti-democratic actors to suppress the vote and block progress and equality for Black and Brown Arizonans.”
"In the spirit of Martin Luther King and John Lewis several members of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) were honored to be arrested along with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. William Barber, Barbara Arnwine and 36 other Democracy Protectors during a peaceful sit-in at Senator Kyrsten Sinema's Phoenix office on Monday," said Dan O'Neal PDA’s Arizona State Coordinator. "Joined by hundreds of people from church, labor unions, social justice organizations, including the Arizona Coalition to End the Filibuster and the African American Christian Clergy Coalition, we put our bodies on the line for voting rights and to protect our democracy. Now we need Senator Sinema to do her job, listen to her constituents who are fighting day in and day out to finally end the filibuster and pass the For the People Act."
"Working families are locked out of pursuing their dreams in this country while quite a few states are in the process of implementing undemocratic regimes encroaching on Americans' right to vote,” said Eva Putzova, Co-founder of Catch Fire Movement and former Flagstaff City Councilmember. “The combination of economic insecurity and limited democracy is a dangerous one. By refusing to end the filibuster, Senator Sinema is a major roadblock in delivering progress for the entire country and her inaction is destabilizing the entire political and economic system."
“In states like Arizona and Georgia, we’re on the front lines of voter suppression, and we’re already seeing the real effects,” said Mondale Robinson, Founder of Black Male Voter Project and Just Democracy Coalition Member. “It is shameful for Senators to say they support democracy and voting rights, then turn around and defend the filibuster — the one thing standing in the way of making real change. Black and Brown people have had to lay our lives on the line for generations to gain access to the ballot box, and it’s long past time that Sen. Sinema takes a stand and fights with us by eliminating the filibuster and doing her job.”
“With over 400 voter suppression bills introduced in states around the country, people like Senator Sinema cannot twiddle their thumbs anymore — we deserve action to protect our basic rights,” said Stephany Spaulding, Founder of Truth & Conciliation and Just Democracy Coalition Member. “By refusing to take action on the filibuster, Sen. Sinema is actively preventing voting rights legislation from being passed and undermining faith in our democracy. Black and Brown activists are tired of playing nice when our basic freedoms are on the line — we need Congress to eliminate the filibuster and pass voting rights legislation.”
“As activists, we work tirelessly to turn people out to vote for criminal justice reform, economic empowerment, education, and more — but none of that change can happen if our government is not responsive to our needs, or if we’re blocked from the ballot box in the first place,” said Marcus Bass, Deputy Director of the North Carolina Black Alliance and Just Democracy Coalition Member. “That’s why we need voting rights legislation to finally even the playing field for Black and Brown voters. Democracy reform is the key that unlocks progress on all other issues, and we need Sen. Sinema to stand with our fight for equality, eliminate the filibuster, and pass voting rights legislation.”
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
Common Defense Arizona
Fuerte Arts Movement
Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA)
Mi Familia Vota
Progressive Democrats of America - Arizona
Queen Creek Mission
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.