Randy Parraz has spent the past sixteen years of his professional life fighting for change and committed to civic engagement, civil rights and working families.
Randy’s commitment to public service was inspired by his father, John Parraz, who as a Sergeant with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, co-‐founded an organization to improve the recruitment, hiring and retention of Latinos in the field of law enforcement. Thirty-‐one years after his death, the Latino Peace Officers Association has become a national organization with a presence in twenty-‐five states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. Because of his father’s commitment to community, public safety and equal opportunity, Randy learned at a very young age the importance of using one’s skill, talent, education and energy in service to others.
Politically, Randy believes strongly in breaking down barriers and empowering individuals to succeed. When it comes to solving problems, Randy has said, “We need to fundamentally alter the way we think and act as stewards of democracy and caretakers of our human condition. People need to feel that who they are, what they do and what they think matters to those who they entrust to represent them. We need to create opportunities for others to assume responsibility for the challenges we face. And we need work together, act together and take risks together so that we can eventually celebrate all that we achieve together.”
Similar to President Obama, Randy started his career as a community organizer. From organizing house meetings in East Dallas to solve neighborhood issues, to establishing the National Strawberry Commission for Workers Rights for strawberry pickers struggling to form a union in the fields of California, to organizing residential construction workers in Arizona so that workers could receive fair, just and timely compensation for their labor, Randy has spent a considerable amount of time working with others in pursuit of progressive, positive change.
From 2002-‐2004, Randy’s commitment to helping Arizona’s middle and working families began when he moved to the state to fulfill his duties as the Arizona State Director for the National AFL-‐CIO. In the fall of 2007, Randy returned to Arizona and began work in the housing industry as a political organizer for the Laborers’ International Union of North America. The residential organizing campaign not only exposed the unfair treatment of workers, but it also shed light on the shady lending practices and treatment of home buyers.
In the spring of 2008, Randy, in partnership with other organizations and individuals, helped launch a new coalition -‐ Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability (MCSA) -‐ to expose the misplaced priorities, abusive practices and ineffective policies of Sheriff Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). From crime suppression sweeps that unfairly and unjustly targeted the Hispanic community, to millions of dollars in legal settlements, to the harassment and intimidation of citizens, elected officials, county employees and judges who took positions in opposition to Sheriff Arpaio, MCSA lead the fight to hold Sheriff Arpaio and the Board of Supervisors accountable for their actions.
Randy was born and raised in Sacramento, California. He attended the University of California, Berkeley where he studied history and sociology. Randy continued his graduate studies and earned a law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at U.C. Berkeley and a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. 
Inspired by Ernesto Cortes of the Industrial Areas Foundation and the teachings of Harvard’s Marshall Ganz, a legendary community organizer and colleague of United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez, Parraz found himself easing into the stream of community organizing jobs in Texas, Washington, D.C., and then Arizona.
Randy Parraz currently works as a consultant specializing in organizational change and leadership development. He resides in Scottsdale with his two daughters, Natalia and Mikabella.
He is married to Lilia Alvarez.
Arizona in 2007 after a divorce. He had first arrived in Arizona in 2002, signing on as the state director for the national AFL-CIO, but a career in the labor movement had left him dissatisfied with its effectiveness for change.
“Labor is so beat-up,” he went on, shaking his head. “Lack of vision, lack of leadership, afraid to deal with immigration.”
When Parraz witnessed the faltering pushback on SB 1070 -- the "show us your papers" law -- he shifted from his behind-the-scenes community organizer role to that of a public figure. “There are certain roles you have to take when no one else is ready to take it on,” he said.
Parraz was outraged by the Democratic Party’s failure to “rise to the challenge” in Arizona and confront the misinformation over SB 1070. “They saw it as a burden and walked away. I said, ‘Hey, let’s use this as an opportunity to organize.’ There were a lot of good people in the state who stayed quiet.”
“The signing of SB 1070 was the turning point for Randy Parraz,” the Three Sonorans blog noted, introducing him to Tucson voters in the summer of 2010. “As he said during his interview with Arizona Illustrated, his own personal threshold of injustice had been assed, and there was no strong voice against the bill from the Democratic candidate against John McCain, a supporter of the bill, so Randy decided to enter the race.”
Parraz failed to win the  Democratic nomination for the Senate; but as he predicted, the state Democratic Party lost every statewide race. In the meantime, Parraz had awakened the interests of a new generation of activists in the state.
“I’m trying to get people to behave differently,” he went on. “To take risks. To protest. To tell the police to back off if they threaten your right to speech. I almost got arrested today for bringing people into the Arizona Capitol lobby. That’s how insane it is here. We were just bringing people in to educate about the jobs bill. This place is on lockdown, and we have to change that.”
For Parraz, that change came with the ascendancy of Russell Pearce to the State Senate presidency in the fall of 2010. Once the Tea Party president made it clear that he planned to pursue his radical agenda in the spring of 2011, Parraz and Chad Snow mobilized their supporters in the area to launch a recall. Citing “insurmountable odds,” the Democratic Party leadership and established media gave Parraz and his Citizens for a Better Arizona hardly any support or a sporting chance to take down the most powerful politician in Arizona. They didn’t realize Parraz had done his homework. With the Republican Party increasingly in disarray, he saw that the Tea Party’s grip on the conservative ranks was slipping; his early canvass teams reported back the surprising discovery that one out of every three or four voters in the district didn’t even know Pearce.
“It takes a lot of work,” Parraz admonished, especially to assemble a bipartisan effort. “What issue will drive them? How do you engage people in the act of politics? How do you create opportunities for people to act on their values?”
Parraz and Snow and their increasing ranks of volunteers mulled over these questions as they set up their tables in front of the Mesa Public Library to collect signatures, and then launched a door-to-door campaign. They set up a Facebook page that soon exploded with participants. Suddenly, they found themselves joined by a regular crew of retired educators and business people who were outraged by the toll that Pearce’s ideological stance was taking on the economy and greater community, including disgruntled Republicans who found his Tea Party leadership out of step with traditional conservatism as well as Latino activists and younger voters anxious to take down the architect of SB 1070.
New movement building
In 2010, a leading advocate, Randy Parraz (a PAC+ Board Member), declared his candidacy for U.S. Senate in an effort to force the candidates to address the issues of greatest concern to Arizona, including immigration reform. And in 2011, he and a handful of other visionary leaders called for and delivered the recall of AZ State Senator Russell Pearce, the legislative Padrino of SB1070.
Out of all of this organizing activity have arisen some of our nation’s leading Latino organizers and advocates, including Lilia Alvarez, 2012 candidate for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. PAC+ enthusiastically endorsed Lilia and encourages progressives around the country to contribute to her campaign. If elected, this bright, young, progressive Latina will become one of the five people overseeing the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and its budget.
March 2010 “Around two hundred protesters and speakers from groups such as Border Action Network, Puente, Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability, Somos America, the ACLU of Arizona, and others rallied at Capitol’s Executive Tower to demand that Governor Jan Brewer veto state Senator Russell Pearce’s bill SB 1070/HB 2632. leaders of the anti-Pearce crowd including BAN’s Jennifer Allen, MCSA’s Randy Parraz, and Carlos Garcia of the Puente Movement entered the Executive Tower, and took the elevator to the 9th Floor in search of the Governor.
Randy Parraz, co-founder and president of Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that led the Russell Pearce recall campaign, said that, partisanship aside, the “Pearce effect” has been beneficial for all of Arizona’s voters and residents.
For one thing, the Republican who replaced Pearce, Jerry Lewis, doesn’t support anti-immigrant policies “and he was the deciding vote in electing the new president of the Senate, Steve Pearce, who was not a Russell Pearce supporter and who is not into anti-immigrant legislation.”
Secondly, “it’s sent a message of what’s possible in Arizona, where progressives and moderates could come together to make this type of change and to then make history in the process was also very special,” he said.
“Third, the people who got involved in the political process for the first time now have been transformed by that process. They now know that they can change things with their vote, that if you get involved, you can make a difference,” Parraz added. He’s now leading a campaign to push for Sheriff Arpaio’s resignation. “Arpaio’s next”, said Parraz. “Our effort is not about getting rid of Republlicans and Democrats. Is about getting rid of those extreme elements that will make it difficult to do politics.”
The Peoples' Inauguration
Progressive Central The Peoples' Inauguration was held Saturday, January 19, 2013, at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law 5th Floor Moot Court Room, 4340 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
The event was sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America, The Nation, National Nurses United, Democrats.com and Busboys and Poets. The event was advertised and promoted by the Institute for Policy Studies.
The 11:15 am-‐12:30 pm session What will the Progressive Agenda be in 2013? was moderated by John Nichols, and featured Rep. Jim McGovern – Rep. John Conyers -‐ Andrea Miller, PDA National Team -‐ Randy Parraz, Citizens for a Better Arizona.
Student radical connections
Michael Martinez, January 11, 2016.
Marisa Franco, November 8, 2016 near Phoenix, AZ. ·
- baztaarpaio — with B. Loewe, Tania Unzueta, Carlos Garcia, Bob LaVenture, Neidi Dominguez, Lucia Raíz, Maria Castro, Caitlin Elly Breedlove, Ken Chapman, Francisco Luna, Nora Rasman and Randy Parraz.
PowerPac+ Board of Directors
- [https://www.salon.com/2012/09/21/can_this_activist_save_arizona/Salon Can this activist save Arizona? “Show Us Your Papers” has inspired a new generation of progressives to challenge the state’s backward leadership JEFF BIGGERS SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 4:29PM (UTC)]
- HufPo HE BLOG 02/25/2012 10:20 am ET Updated Apr 25, 2012 The Arizona “Model”: Failed Immigration Policy, Successful Voter Mobilization By Maribel Hastings
- PDA website, accessed Jan 15, 2013
- PowerPAC+ Board of Directors, accessed Dec. 1, 2014.