I was talking with one of my closest friends from growing up in AZ, and we were both feeling the same thing: I'm proud of Arizona!
This is a state with such strong roots in discrimination that in 2006, they passed a law banning Spanish translations from being allowed on government documents. I remember there were a lot of signs posted around our neighborhood designed to trick Mexican American voters into voting for Measure 103: "Quiere que sus hijos aprendan el ingles? Vote sí para la medida 103!"
Then in 2010, Arizona passed SB1070 stating that any suspicious person could be stopped by law enforcement for without a legitimate reason and be required to brandish papers proving their legal status for being in this country. If this "suspicious person" - let's just be real and say "brown person" - did not carry their visa or passport, then that person would be placed in jail.
I remember distinctly this type of racing profiling as I was living in Tucson and volunteering in Puerto Penasco with Alternative Spring Breaks. I went several times on this trip to Mexico. Without fail, whenever we got to the border, the immigration officials would demand that the people in our group who were of Latin descent exit the van and be individually searched.
Since 1950, AZ has voted Republican in every presidential election other than Clinton's in 1996. Now fast forward to 2020, and state has had record voter turnout and gone blue. Arizonans have chosen to vote for Biden for President and Harris, a Black and Asian woman with immigrant parents, for Vice-President.
I have tears in my eyes as I write this. From having grown up in this state and the racism I experienced personally and witnessed around me, I know that this is progress. Yes, there is still so much more work to be done. But I can't help feeling hopeful that this heralds a change. This is a confirmation of all the efforts put forth by so many people to end white supremacy. This includes the internal work of understanding our own biases and the external work of breaking down barriers on a societal level. It IS working.