Arizona corporations must speak out against racist anti-voter bills
By Elizabeth Casillas, warehouse worker and member of SEIU Local 289T
I was born and raised in Arizona. All of my grandparents are from Mexico and came over to the United States; my parents and I are thankful for the opportunity to grow up and live here. I am a strong believer in helping out those who are struggling, for any reason, and lifting up important issues.
The freedom to vote is one of our most precious and powerful tools. No matter where we’re from, what we look like, or who we vote for, the freedom to vote should be guaranteed to us all. To make voting more difficult than it is now is unfair and rooted in the type of hatred that our nation needs to move past.
Black and brown voters’ voices were very powerful in the 2020 election. We showed up in unprecedented numbers, electing a senator and a president who will fight for working people. There are members of our legislature who know that when we vote, we elect officials who represent our interests and work for us. Simply put, they’re afraid of losing their power and are trying to make it harder for people like me to vote.
Republicans in the legislature have proposed dozens of racist anti-voter bills this session. These bills create barriers to voting and attack democratic norms and institutions, specifically targeting Black, Latinx, Native and API communities. The proposed bills would purge tens of thousands of Arizonans from the vote by mail list, impose onerous new ID requirements on vote by mail, and other changes.
These laws are deliberately designed to keep working people like myself from having a voice in our state, because they know how challenging it is for us to get to the polls on Election Day.
Arizona lawmakers aren’t the only ones to blame in these suppression efforts; many of Arizona’s largest employers giving money to these legislators are to blame too.
Corporations like CVS, Allstate, Farmers Insurance, Enterprise Holdings, bear responsibility if these bills become law in Arizona. They cannot wait to speak out like Delta and Coca-Cola did in Georgia, who condemned the legislation only after the governor signed the anti-voter bill. Corporations in Arizona now have to make a choice: will they stand with Black and brown workers, or will they remain complicit in their silence?
As a warehouse worker — and member and union representative of SEIU Local 289T — I know firsthand how important collective action is. Whether it’s fighting for immigrant justice, fair pay, or workers’ rights, the results are clear: when we organize, we win. When Arizona tried to make it more difficult to vote by mail in 2013, we fought the measure all the way to the Supreme Court who ruled against the state for trying to limit the right to vote.
These proposals are the latest in a recent history of attempts to silence Black and brown voices after the 2020 election, but they are part of a long history of disenfranchisement that’s as old as our right to vote itself.
But we’ve won these fights before, whether we’re lobbying in the chambers of the state legislature or marching in the streets. We know we can win these fights, and they do too. When we showed up in 2020, we showed the world just how powerful we are. We made our voices heard, and now they’re trying to take them away. It is up to employers in the state of Arizona to decide whether they will join us in our fight for justice or stand silent in the face of modern day Jim Crow.
We are more energized and enthusiastic to protect our rights than ever. We won’t let them silence us — not when we have so much more to say.