The Puente Human Rights Movement has a lot in common with the Anti Police-Terror Project. It offers extensive assistance to families impacted by police violence while also advocating for the abolition of police. Phoenix City Council Member Carlos Garcia, a former Executive Director, joined us to discuss Puente’s work as well as the strategies that community members have taken to achieve community safety without a heavy reliance on police.
Carlos Garcia, Phoenix, AZ City Council Member and former Executive Director of Puente Human Rights Movement, was born in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico and migrated to Arizona at the age of five, where he was raised by his mother and grandfather.
Carlos co-founded One Arizona, a non-profit coalition focused on civic engagement. He was a key player in defeating the former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and in challenging the notorious racial profiling law SB 1070. His work stands on the belief that diverse people with common struggles and vision have the power to change the course of history.
Puente Human Rights Movement (Puente) was formed in 2007 as a result of the anti-migrant policies and practices occurring in Maricopa County, Arizona under the leadership of then Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Puente stemmed out of the 32 Street Coalition who were organizing to fight back against the harassment and arrest of day laborers by off-duty Maricopa County Sheriff's officers. Since its founding, Puente has transitioned into a broad multi-generational, intersectional movement for human rights.
Puente was founded on the principles that all people have the right to a good quality of life and dignity. They work to eradicate intolerance when it presents itself at individual, economic, political, social, and spiritual settings affecting our daily lives. Their work is grounded in the principles human rights and non-violence.
In the last decade, Puente has worked on a wide array of issues such as immigration, criminal justice, policing, women’s rights, children's & youth rights, workers’ rights, and more. They work closely with sister organizations across the state and throughout the nation to create a robust network of human rights defenders. As a broader international movement, Puente works as a human rights organization that creates national and international alliances with immigrant, labor, and women’s rights groups to form a united front to demand human rights for all communities around the world.