Jason Michael Aragón, a filmmaker and activist from Pan Left Productions in Tucson, Arizona, recently released preview screenings of his documentary film titled Under Arpaio, which documents the struggle against the notorious Joe Arpaio.
This “working- cut” of the film is being shown to audiences through grassroots tours in order to create more community awareness of Arizona and other states where similar anti-immigrant laws have been developed. A finished version of the film will be released later this year after the nationwide tour of effected communities.
On December 15, the Department of Justice issued a report documenting the civil rights violations which occurred under Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Maricopa County has since been stripped of its 287g agreement with the federal government. From Arpaio’s ongoing immigration sweeps of undocumented communities, to dressing his inmates in pink underwear, to introducing chain gains for women and children, there is no shortage of civil rights violations on his record.
The community screenings of Under Arpaio have come at an important time. Just as national scrutiny against Sheriff Joe Arpaio is finally coming to a head, this documentary reveals not only violations of Arpaio, but the community fight against him and his bigoted policies.
Jason Michael Aragón commented, “the film is not about Arpaio but about the communities that have resisted him for so long and have received little attention beneath the Sheriff’s massive media presence.”
According to the website, “Under Arpaio shows the grassroots resistance to Maricopa County, Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio who prides himself on being the ‘toughest sheriff in America.’ Arpaio prides himself on immigration raids on migrant and Latino neighborhoods, human rights violations in his jails, and wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Under Arpaio features the grassroots activists from low-income migrant communities, the attorneys, reporters, elected officials, and indigenous people who speak truth to power.”
Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama, were recent stops on a Southern tour of community screenings. According to Under Arpaio producers and Arizona organizers on the tour, “Throughout our visit it was clear that the fight in Arizona goes beyond state lines and into places like Atlanta.” As they recalled in a recent report back from the tour, “We took Under Arpaio to Alabama to uplift the voices of those in Arizona fighting against racist immigration policy.”
Arizona’s fight against oppressive bills like SB1070 and rouge officials like Sheriff Arpaio is inspiring. But the fight is not isolated to the state of Arizona. The film Under Arpaio and its most recent tour is just one example, and should be celebrated nationally.
For more information on Under Arpaio and to visit some of the blogs that were written on the Southern Tour, visit the website http://www.underarpaio.com.