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News for Southeastern Arizona, provided by the University of Arizona School of Journalism

The root of shame: Congressman Raul Grijalva traces his racial journey

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His words say Mexican-Americans can do anything. His eyes see hope where there is none. His feet march for the dreamer, to the point of arrest.  Every Chicano is a star, in his eyes. Raúl Grijalva is a once-in-a-generation activist. He is a man whose life mission has evolved to bring equality to a race that has seen little. And when it comes to racism, he has seen it a lot. Like many Chicanos in this country, Grijalva was raised by parents who only spoke Spanish, and a mother who urged him to get his education. She knew that education would give him power. Before entering the first grade, he knew his primary colors and his numbers. He knew all that a first-grader needed to be successful. What he didn’t know, the challenges ahead of him had nothing to...

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For Native Americans, racism hits home

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  After over 500 years of broken treaties and forceful domination from European settlers and the U.S. government, Native Americans in Arizona today still face racism in the most intimate part of their religion and identity: their home. Today, a border wall, a copper mine and a reversal of the previous administration’s policies are a few examples of recent federal threats to the sacred native land and way of life. OAK FLAT: “All we have left is our spirit and how it ties to the earth,” said Wendsler Nosie Sr., a 65-year-old former councilman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. “We have to migrate back (to Oak Flat) regardless of what the federal government says or what anyone says. It’s rooted in our songs, our language, and the way we are every day.” Native lands in the U.S. have...

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Chinese in Arizona

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Traveling by train in Yuma with a box of bones in his hands, G.W. Chapman did what many believed to be sacrilegious. He dumped a huge box filled with dead Chinese immigrants’ bones into the Colorado River. It was a warm day in 1882, and “Old Chap,” Tombstone’s express messenger and mail clerk, had promised their families that he would fulfill the cultural tradition of returning the bones to their homeland. His violation of the cultural tradition was one of many incidents across Arizona in which the Chinese were treated as second-class citizens. The Chinese first came to the United States in large numbers in the 19th century and helped modernize America by building railroads. Their customs and lifestyle unsettled whites, who used the power of legislation and general hate to discriminate against the Chinese. On the day, Chapman...

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Blacks, Latinos face heftier prison time

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Nationwide, for every one white person imprisoned, roughly five black people are, according to the Sentencing Project. In Arizona, those ratios are similar for African Americans, with Hispanics being imprisoned roughly twice as much as whites. Yet, the U.S. Census Bureau’s data show that black people only take up about 5 percent of the total population of the state and Hispanic or Latino people make up about 31 percent. In a report by the American Civil Liberties Union, “Black and Latino offenders sentenced in state and federal courts face significantly greater odds of incarceration than similarly situated white offenders.” Additionally, in some jurisdictions, they might “receive longer sentences than their white counterparts.” Ashley Nellis, a senior research analyst of the Sentencing Project, said – in accordance with data for Arizona – the white imprisonment rate per 100,000 people in...

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From fighter pilot to to fighter for justice

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  A military hero. An activist for equal housing and job discrimination. A man who fought for civil rights so valiantly he is now considered to be the Martin Luther King Jr. of Arizona. Lincoln Ragsdale was born July 27, 1926, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His parents, Hartwell and Onlia, were middle-class African-Americans who owned a mortuary passed onto them by Lincoln’s grandfather. After the Ku Klux Klan lynched his uncle, William Ragsdale Jr.,  the family moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma, to start anew. Onlia was the president of the  National Association of Colored Women’s Oklahoma chapter. At separate times, his older brother and cousin served as president of the NAACP in Oklahoma. In 1945, Lincoln broke the glass ceiling when he trained to become a Tuskegee Airman at the Tuskegee Army Air Corps Field in Alabama. This program was the...

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Future of immigration and discrimination

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President Donald Trump has reopened the closet for racial expression in America. With Arizona’s close proximity to the border, however, racial issues among immigrants is nothing new. In the last 10 months, the Trump administration has proposed a list of anti-immigration laws including, the wall between Mexico and United States, the removal of DACA, pardoning Joe Arpaio, and trying to ban people from eight countries from entering the U.S. This set many people off and changed the outlook of racism today. While his input on immigrants is much stronger than previous officials, anti-immigration policies are familiar for those in America. “It’s pervasive. The anti-migrant fence has to have a long history in Arizona,” said Liane Hernandez, community outreach and education director for YWCA Southern Arizona. “While Trump’s statements have been shocking, because he’s the president of the United States,...

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Glenn’s War

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SIERRA VISTA — Glenn Spencer is a general fighting a one-man war. It’s a war that, according to him, the American government doesn’t want but one he is duty-bound to wage.  His battlefield is the border and his soldiers are drones, guided by seismographs. He has an almost-fanatical drive to develop a cheaper, more-secure system to “lock down” the U.S.-Mexican borderland. Spencer’s enemies are elusive, wily, and to him, alien. They are Latino border crossers, and whether they are children fleeing conflict, families seeking a better life, or suspected drug smugglers, it makes no difference to him. Spencer believes they constitute a threat large enough to warrant years of his life struggling to combat. Fifteen years into the project, Spencer spends his time fine-tuning a drone system capable of snaring crossers. He claims his combative stance and skepticism about...

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Out of the Gates: A short documentary

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In this short documentary, follow Amelia Hauschild, a 16-year-old jockey, as she prepares for her first race as a professional and deals with the challenges of being a female in a male dominated...

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Rhetoric fails to match deportation orders

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In one of many campaign promises, Donald Trump promised to deport the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.  Yet according to the Syracuse University database TRAC, of the 105,853 completed cases in the 2017 fiscal year, from October 2016 through March 2017, in about half of all immigration court cases judges allowed the undocumented immigrant to stay in the United States, whether through termination of the case, relief, or closure.  The Trump administration and Department of Homeland Security also maintain they will prioritize the deportation of those who have committed serious crimes. However, unauthorized immigrants with a criminal charge, or classified a national security or terror threat currently make up about 8 percent of all completed cases for the fiscal year of 2017, and about one-third of all those with a criminal charge, classified a national security or terror threat were granted stay within the U.S. While...

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One in 11 million: life and times of an undocumented resident

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   When the words “build a wall, “illegal aliens,” “Trump” or “deportation” blast from the television screen, Juan sends his 9-year-old U.S. citizen grandson outside to play. Juan, a long-term undocumented immigrant, doesn’t want him to worry.        Juan first came to the United States when he was 19 and has lived in Tucson since, calling it his home for 25 years.         “To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about the U.S. in my life,” Juan says. “My thinking back then was to keep going to school, become a teacher and do something with my life. But you never know what’s going to happen next month, right?”         For Juan, one thing is always clear:  There is no use worrying about what will happen tomorrow, in 10, or even 20 years. He lives a day-to-day life in...

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