"1070" retells Arizona's past, but reflects some students' present

Although the play is based on old events, it resonates with students currently feeling anti-immigration pressure from the government

Although James Garcia's play "1070" is based on Arizona's not-so-distant past, its message is one that resonates today; especially for some Arizona students whose legal status in the country is still up for debate in state courts. 

The Undocumented Students for Educational Equity (USEE), an ASU club that promotes immigration education on campus, attended one of the final viewings of James Garcia's "1070" play, and many felt that the story was widely recognizable and relatable to reality.

Many wondered who the main characters were based off of, but Garcia said that was not the point. He said the characters were a composite of many people that have displayed the same courage repeatedly since 2010. 

"I think so many people wanted to ensure that they got the credit they deserved. But it wasn't a documentary, it was a piece of fiction," Garcia said. "Going with fictional characters gives me more liberty on what to do with the characters." 

Garcia said one of the things he set out to do was display the immense courage of not one person, but many young people. He wanted to translate the courage of Dreamers in the same way that people view police officers or firefighters. 

“I hope the Dreamers that came to see it and the work I'm doing is not only appreciated by the people I help, but know that it's also appreciated by society and by artists who have chosen to tell this story," Garcia said. 

Edder Diaz Martinez, member of USEE at ASU and a journalism and mass communications senior, says that the portrayal of a young woman resisting the way she did in the play mirrors the struggle of many Dreamers today. 

Martinez said that he was just 20 years old when the infamous Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act was enacted. The law, often referred to as Senate Bill 1070 (or just SB 1070) was a strict anti-immigration measure that sparked debate across the country and gave Garcia's play its namesake. 

Martinez said he remembers that period as the darkest time of his life. While walking down the street in his neighborhood, he would see police SUVs surveilling the area as an act of intimidation. 

"I was stuck in a toxic cycle of the system making it easier for me to go to jail, than be a law-abiding citizen. I wasn't able to go to school because of high-tuition prices, but I also wasn't able to work either," Martinez said. "This play helps us reflect on the battles we have won and lost. Thankfully, most of this law has been taken away. What we have to do now is continue having the desire to fight. This gives us the fuel to continue fighting." 

Anna Flores, lead actress playing Dulce Avila in "1070" and also a pre-law senior at ASU, is a daughter of immigrant parents and a sibling of two brothers who still reside in Nogales, Mexico.  

Flores said that she directly relates to the scene when Dulce's sister gets deported in the play because she had answered a similar call when her brother received a traffic violation.

"I have seen one of my brothers get deported. I know what it's like to wait by the phone, to hear my brother who was detained (was) being pressured to sign documents," said Flores.

In other ways, she says she may even relate to Dulce Avila in real life. 

"Dulce is a lot more selfless. I'm an actress, so there is a certain degree of self-consciousness and confidence I need to in order to be able to be present and vulnerable in front of a lot of people," Flores said. "Dulce is completely engulfed in fighting for the people. She doesn't care nearly as much as I do about her image." 


Reach the reporter at rdomin10@asu.edu and follow @becca_stories on Twitter.

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