People wonder after the passage of SB 1070 if there has ever been a successful challenge to the Minutemen Agenda in the United States. As a matter of fact there was an instance where the community stood up and made it clear the Minutemen’s message of hate was NOT welcome in their community, their hacks were not welcome in public office and they did something about it.
The year was 2007, and a member of the Anaheim Union High School District board passed away from a sudden heart attack. This left a vacancy to be filled, in which runner up fron the 2006 election, Jordan Brandman sought the appointment. So did former school board member and Minuteman activist Harald Martin, who once tried to bill Mexico for educating students of Mexican descent. In the end, Harald Martin got the appointment thanks to board member and current Loretta Sanchez opponent Katherine Smith, the oneÂ Latino on the board Thomas “Hoagy” Holguin and professional push over Brian O’Neal. The community was shocked that the favored son, Jordan Brandman was passed over.
The following week at Los Amigos, a group of Latino activists who come together every Wednesday for breakfast strategized their next move. That was when Alfredo AmezcuaÂ revealed there was a overlooked provision in the education code that allowed for the voters to overturn a vacancy appointment and force a special election, if they got the signatures of 2% of the registered voters of that school district, but they only had 40 days after the appointment to do it. It seemed like a daunting task with little help. But help came from across the political spectrum, even Republicans came to the aid of our cause. The recall began and Los Amigos put their heart and soul into standing up to the Minuteman agenda.
Jose SolorioÂ gave money to the cause and helped fundraise. Lou CorreaÂ hosted a walk for signatures event at La Casa Garcia where he bought the volunteers breakfast and sent them to walk for the cause. Other prominent Democrats leading the effort were NOCCCD Trustees Mike Matsuda and Leonard Lahtinen, County Clerk/Recorder Tom Daly, La Palma Councilman Ralph Rodriguez, ACSD Board member Jose Moreno, Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele MartinezÂ and Anaheim City Councilwoman Lorri Galloway. Some Republicans who took up the cause were County Board of Education member Alexandria Coronado, who gave an impassioned speech at Los Amigos on just how hateful Harald Martin, Red County Blogger Matt Cunningham, ACSD BoardmemberÂ James Vanderbilt-Linares, and most surprising of all, Mayor Curt Pringle jumped on board the cause.
The movement really caught fire throughout the district and it was quickly clear the number of signatures would be met. Amin David’s Â and Alfredo Amezcua’s call to action was met with an impassioned response and an entire community stood up to the Minutemen agenda of hate and in the end Harald Martin resigned from the office and did not even seek election in the special election. In the end, the true choice of the community, Jordan Brandman was elected but all of this would not have been possible without two things. First, leaders in the Latino community deciding to actually take actions against the Minutemen agenda and second, winning the hearts and minds of the community at large showing we are American too and do not deserve to be treated as second class citizens.
Jordan Brandman has been an asset on the AUHSD board of education and has built a strong bi-partisan alliance to improve the district. In fact, last August 28th, Jordan led the effort to make AUHSD one of the few political entities in Orange County to actually support the DREAM Act. He was joined by two of the trustees who voted for Martin the first time, Katherine Smith and Thomas Holguin. Victories can happen against the xenophobes known as the Minutemen and their allies in the Arizona State Legislature and over at Fox News. Anaheim is an example of this.
Arizona promises to be a more challenging fight. But we can win the hearts and minds of most Arizonans and put a human face on this hateful law. We must educate the public on the benefits of Latino immigrants, show that most are law abiding citizens looking for a better life, show them that all of us do not deserve to be profiled just because of our ethnicity, demand real accountability for the criminals who do come here looking for trouble and educate them on the hatred of people like Harald Martin, Tom Tancredo, Barbara Coe, Glenn BeckÂ and Joe Arpaio by showing the most tragic result of their hateful message, the murder of little Brisenia Flores.