It appears the protests have worked, at least when it comes to Joe Arpaio. The face of hardline immigration policy in the United States, Arpaio, lost his re-election bid for sheriff in Maricopa to Democrat Paul Penzone, who has spent 21 years as a Phoenix police officer.
Hundreds of students marched out of North and Maryvale High School in protest of Donald Trump and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Arapaio, who endorsed the Republican nominee’s bid in January, has faced federal contempt-of-court charges related to a 2011 lawsuit, which claimed the sheriff department unfairly targeted Latinos based on the belief that they were illegal immigrants.
Arpaio also supports building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, after 23 years in his position, he is up for re-election for his seventh term as sheriff — but the student from both schools, 90 percent of which contain racial minorities and mostly Latinos, are not having it.
About 200 Maryvale students walked out of class in the afternoon to protest Arpaio, many with inflatable anti-Arpaio balloons and placards. Some students carpooled while others made their way to the Church of Nazarene poll station located about a mile away. About 750 students were unable to go to the church, stated Phoenix Union High School District communications director, Craig Pletenik.
The demonstrators carried placards that read “Maryvale Againsit Arpaio,” “Vote Against Hate” and “Vote Against Joe Arpaio.”
Maryvale High School students walked out of their schools marching towards on of the polling station to rally and get out the vote against Sheriff Arpaio during an election day in Phoenix, Az., on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. #electionday #election2016 #arpaio #StudentsvsArpaio & #BaztaArpaio #instagram #reportage #arizona
Students at North High School gathered in a nearby parking lot around a truck that carried an effigy of the sheriff in a striped prison suits. The protesters wore shirts proclaiming “Arrest Arpaio” and were holding placards featuring as a pig in prison uniform.
Labor union members joined the Latino and Muslim students in the protest organized by civil rights group Case Action, according to the Arizona Republic.
Students unable to vote in this year’s election also took part in the protest.
Arleth Bustillos, 16, a junior at Maryvale High, said she participated in the protest because her father is an undocumented immigrant.
“Trump is deciding to get rid of all immigrants and my dad would have to leave, and I don't want that to happen,” Bustillos said. “Two of my tíos and a tía (uncles and an aunt) were deported earlier this year.”
North High junior Faisa Ahmed said she fasted for two days to show solidarity with her Hispanic counterparts.
“I’m sick and tired of people like Arpaio and Donald Trump discriminating (against) us. I’m tired of them saying that Muslims are terrorists and Mexicans are rapists because that’s not true. They don’t know us,” she said to cheers. “I want to show them that we’re also educated and that we’re better than what they say we are. Just because our parents don’t have papers does not mean we don’t belong here. We belong here.”
“Arpaio and Trump have to go,” said 14-year-old Scarlett Ramirez. “We don't want Trump and Arpaio to have that power.”
At least 10 of the students received social media threats after the protest.
It is not yet clear whether the walkout was organized with the schools’ permission.