Fraternity with STL Ties Cancels Arizona trip due to immigration law

2:56 PM, May 5, 2010   |    comments
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  • Arthur Williams, Alpha Phi Alpha.

By Sharon Stevens

KSDK -- An international organization with St. Louis ties is speaking out against the new immigration law in Arizona.

The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity cancelled Phoenix as the site of its annual convention because of its opposition to the controversial law. The Alphas are instead taking their 40,000 members to Las Vegas.

The 104th meeting of the nation's oldest predominately African-American fraternity was scheduled for Phoenix from July 21 to July 25.

Reaction to the law was met with protest marches all across the nation, including here in St. Louis.

The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, which has many chapters in St. Louis and throughout Missouri, says that the immigration act is discriminatory.

Arthur Williams is president of Epsilon Lambda, St. Louis' graduate chapter.

"We have members, such as Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. Dubois, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson; just many, many guys who have come through this organization and have all stood for something; you know -- something positive."

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and other opponents say it's time for the federal government to step in and enforce its policies.

This is not Arizona's first brush with boycotts. In 1990, voters rejected a Dr. Martin Luther King holiday and that led to a flurry of cancellations, including the 1993 Super Bowl which was moved to a different site. The MLK holiday bill passed two years--and millions of dollars--later.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Travel Association has called for an end to travel boycotts, calling them counter-productive.



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