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Civil Rights Rally Today at AZ State Capitol

Civil rights activists are rallying today at the Arizona State Capitol. (United Against Hate Coalition)
Civil rights activists are rallying today at the Arizona State Capitol. (United Against Hate Coalition)
January 9, 2017

PHOENIX – Several hundred people from the United Against Hate Coalition will attend a rally at the state Capitol today, the first day of the new legislative session.

The rally, which they are calling the "People's State of the State Address," aims to push political leaders to stand up for civil rights.

Viri Hernandez, executive director at the Center for Neighborhood Leadership, said the coalition banded together about two weeks after the presidential election, and this is its first major event.

"Local imams in the mosques that have been attacked already throughout this year are part of the coalition; the synagogue that was just also attacked,” Hernandez said. "So, it's a very broad base where people have come together because we have seen the attacks that have started."

The coalition includes 44 groups so far, including those that focus on LGBTQ, immigration and conservation issues, along with Planned Parenthood of Arizona, which could lose federal funding under the Trump administration.

The groups will be at the Capitol from 9 a.m. to noon, with the rally at 11 a.m.

Hernandez said the coalition is also concerned about President-elect Trump's calls for a crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

"So, making sure that the state does not comply in those, or does not promote their own type of aggressive targeting and hunting of people,” she said.

The coalition is warning legislators that there will be strong opposition to any bills this session that would undermine women's rights, attempt to change ownership of public lands, or rollback conservation measures, Hernandez said, as well as those that would target refugees or undocumented immigrants.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ