August 23, 2011
The Honorable Tom Cross, House Minority Leader
The Honorable Kay Hatcher, State Representative
The Honorable Pam Roth, State Representative
The Honorable Randy Hultgren, U.S. Congressman
The Honorable Dennis Hastert, Former Speaker of the U.S. House
Ken Toftoy, Chairman of the Kendall County Republican Party
The Honorable Christine Radogno, Senate Minority Leader
The Honorable Pat Brady, State Republican Chairman
Dear Honorable Elected Officials, Candidates and Party Chairmen:
We recently became aware of the Kendall County Republican Party Picnic scheduled to occur on August 27, 2011, which we understand will include the participation of numerous Illinois elected officials and party leaders. According to the event’s website, https://sites.google.com/site/kendallcountyrepublicans/home/family-picnic, the featured speaker for the event is Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County.
As you may know, Sheriff Arpaio has a long history of constitutional violations, corruption, and racial discrimination. We believe that as present and future leaders of Illinois, you would agree that the welfare of all of our state’s residents must be protected, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, or immigration status – and that the U.S. Constitution should be a sacred text. We must not let ourselves be divided by hatred and extremism and for the sake of our nation we must all stand together and SAY NO TO HATE.
Below are a sample of Sheriff Arpaio’s most egregious attacks on the Constitution and human dignity:
- Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a well-documented policy of racial discrimination and racial profiling of Latinos. An independent 2008 study showed an active bias in his department,  which was subject to 2700 discrimination lawsuits between 2004 and 2007 alone – 50 times the number of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston combined.
- Sheriff Arpaio has famously required his inmates to wear pink underwear and pink jumpsuits – he sells copies of these products for his private gain.
- Sheriff Arpaio has faced a raft of election law violations, misuse of funds allegations, and abuse of power charges, some of which have come with penalties and fines – including a $153,978 fine to his election campaign in 2010 for misusing funds.
- In 2008 and 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Neil V. Wake ruled that Sheriff Arpaio’s jails violated the constitutional rights of inmates, by failing to provide basic medical care and food. From one report: “Arpaio routinely abused pre-trial detainees… by feeding them… contaminated food, housing them in cells so hot as to endanger their health, denying them care for serious medical and mental health needs, and keeping them packed as tightly as sardines.”
- From 2009 to 2011, Sheriff Arpaio refused to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division on their investigation of discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures.
- Arpaio faced a federal discrimination lawsuit in 2009 for firing a Muslim employee who refused to shave his beard for religious reasons.
There is no room for the Sheriff’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, and anti-Muslim actions in Illinois – one of the most diverse states in the union. As civil rights, Latino, immigrant, and faith organizations, we call upon you to stand with us against the unconstitutional tactics of Sheriff Arpaio in two ways:
1) We ask the organizers to withdraw their invitation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
2) And we ask those who have been invited to attend, to decline and refuse to endorse the Sheriff’s record.
The Kendall County GOP website states that “Our country was founded, and continues to be based, upon the belief that freedom resides deep within every human heart. As exemplified by the first Republican President Abraham Lincoln, the ideas that every person matters, that each individual is due dignity and the opportunity to take personal responsibility, has been at the center of our society.” We could not agree more. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has spent his career undermining these Lincolnian values.
The Tri-Count-Teas site also states, this event “isn’t a ‘Republican’ or ‘Democrat’ event – it’s an American event,” and so we urge you to please help all Americans feel welcome at your event.
Rev. C.J. Hawking, Executive Director, Arise Chicago
Joshua Hoyt, Executive Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Jane Ramsey, Executive Director, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Fr. Brendan Curran O.P., Pastor, St Pius V Catholic Church; Priests for Justice for Immigrants
Tuyet Le, Executive Director, Asian American Institute
Hatem Abudayyeh, Executive Director, Arab American Action Network
Maria Pesqueira, President & CEO, Mujeres Latinas en Accion
Rev. Lois McCullen Parr, Pastor, Broadway United Methodist Church
Ahlam Jbara, Associate Director, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
Monika Tietz, Chair of the Board of Directors, Polish Initiative of Chicago
Rev. George Wadleigh, Pastor, Christian Science Church
Tom Balanoff, President, Service Employees International Union Local 1
Rev. Audrey deCoursey, Associate Pastor, Highland Avenu Church of the Brethren
Mary Shesgreen, Steering Committee, Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice
John Laesch, Steering Committee, Northern Illinois Jobs With Justice
Ron Maydon, Chicago Metro Charter President, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
Mireya D. Luna, Program Coordinator, Family Focus
Ron Powell, President, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881
Jim Robinson, Director, United Steel Workers District 7
Jennifer Arwade, Executive Director, Albany Park Neighborhood Council
Carl Rosen, President, United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America, Western Region
Dr. Vince Gaddis, Executive Director, Youth Believing in Change
Michelle Young, President, Action Now
Corey Johnson, Secretary-Treasurer, Laborers Local 149
Abraham Mwaura, Executive Director, Warehouse Workers for Justice
Rev. Jean Siegfried Darling, Minister, The People’s Church of Chicago