Demonstrators gathered for Moral March parade in Phoenix - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Demonstrators gathered for Moral March parade in Phoenix

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Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 9:40 am

Protesters chanted from the streets of downtown Phoenix last weekend in a rally to voice their desire for change from their lawmakers.

Opponents of Arizona’s legislature joined together at Phoenix Civic Space Park and marched saying, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people ‘cause the power of the people don’t stop.”

Arizona’s “Moral March” attracted approximately 300 people who were ready to take a stand and march in solidarity. Sponsored by Equality Arizona and Phoenix Pride, this event protested the state’s legislation as a call for better representation. The event’s Facebook page describes the desire protesters have for “a better Arizona.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062 in February. This bill would have given any business the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers based on their religious beliefs. For many, this veto served as a wake-up call.

Arizona State University graduate Victor Diaz wants a better future for his grandchildren and their grandchildren.

“Somebody told me recently that dinosaurs make the loudest roar when they're stuck in a tar pit because they know they're about to die,” said Diaz. “When I think about what the legislature has done over the past three, four years, they are a dying dinosaur.”

Current legislation does not paint an accurate picture of Arizonans, according to Grant Miller, the organizer of this event. Welcoming members from all communities in the state helped make this a more diverse group of people with the same goals in mind.

“It’s for everybody here. It’s a community-wide march and I believe it’s important because we all need to get together if we're going to move forward,” said protester Ken Reidy.

Equality Arizona is an organization that promotes the advancement of equality among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups as well as civil rights groups. This organization works at the state capitol and local communities to serve as an advocacy group. As sponsors of today’s event, Equality Arizona wants others to join in a fight against the priorities of what protesters are calling “the out-of-touch state legislature,” according to the press release.

After the $9.2 billion state budget was approved last Thursday, protesters had a greater reason to attend the rally. The underfunding of education and prioritization of private prisons encouraged protesters to work harder in their grassroots effort.

“I believe it is reprehensible when we are allocating funding for private prison systems and yet drastically underfunding education,” said Miller.

Diverse communities came together to start creating a better future for Arizonans who are not part of the One Percent.

“If we want to see a better Arizona become reality, we must all engage and work to make it possible,” said Miller in a press release.

Speakers included the Very Rev. Troy Mendez, President of Equality Arizona Rebecca Wininger, state Rep. Stefanie Mach, and state Sen. Katie Hobbs among others.

“My hope is that more people will begin to speak out and make their voices heard,” said Mendez.

Tables were available from the Maricopa County Democratic Party encouraging citizens to register to vote.

Diverse members of the community came out to support a common cause. Their fight is only in its beginning stages, but protesters are not willing to quit.

“We won’t stop until people are no longer marginalized and oppressed in Arizona,” said LGBT advocate Jo Beaudry.

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