Page 10 - the Noise October 2017
P. 10

newsbrief by cindy cole
AZ ConfederATe MeMoriAls VAndAliZed
gov. ducey still has “no plans to tear any down”
Two of Arizona’s monuments to the Confederacy were vandalized in August following an alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in the death of a counter protester who was run over by a vehicle driven by a white supremacist. The vandalism has occurred amidst public outcry to remove Confederate memorials across the nation and Arizona Gov- ernor Doug Ducey’s stance that the state’s monuments should stay.
Sometime during the night of August 15 and the early morning hours of August 16, someone spray painted the letters “BLM” on the Confederate Troops Memorial in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza on Arizona’s state Capitol grounds. “BLM”is the acronym for the move- ment known as “Black Lives Matter” which has become an international movement cam- paigning against violence, police brutality and systemic racism against black people.
Then, in the early morning hours of August 17, the same monument was painted over with white spray paint and a white cross was painted over a small piece of the memorial that sits on the ground. Ironically, a 12 News van pulled up to the site about the same time as the vandal. Bryan West then reported that he had seen the vandal run away as he ar- rived on the scene.
However, after obtaining surveillance video from the night of the incident, Phoenix New Times reported that the 12 News van and the perpetrator were there at the same time. In fact, New Times posted the video and it clearly shows that the vandal passed by the 12 News
van twice and the vans headlights illuminated the monument as the vandal proceeded to spray paint it. A spokesperson for Channel 12 claimed that its reporter was unable to see the vandal committing the act and called police as soon as he became aware the monument had been damaged. Later that day, the spray paint was power-washed away by Capitol maintenance employees.
On or about the same day, the Jefferson Davis Memorial (pictured at left) along Highway 60 near Gold Canyon, south of Apache Junction, was also vandalized. The highway also bears the name of the failed Confederate president. Someone tarred and feathered the stone monument which was placed there in 1943 by the United Daughters of the Confed- eracy. In early America, tarring and feathering was used as a public form of torture and humiliation against British tax collectors in the American colonies.
No sooner was the monument restored than it was vandalized a second time about a week later. This time someone used red spray paint to write “f*CK AMeriKKKA” across its back, notably spelling America with three K’s.
State Representative Reginald Bolding, Arizona’s only black legislator, has been work- ing toward having the monuments removed since the Dylan Roof killings in 2015. Gov. Ducey has stated “it’s not my desire or mission to tear down any monuments or memorials.” So Rep. Bolding and others in the state that would like to see the monuments taken down have turned to the Legislative Governmental Mall Commission, which has jurisdiction over Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, and the Board on Geographic and Historic Names, which oversees highway names.
While the governor has continued to say that it’s not up to him whether Arizona’s Con- federate monuments stay or go, he is a member of the mall commission and appoints the members of the Board on historic names. In addition, commission members and Arizona legislators say that it may take passing a bill to affect all six of the monuments found across the state. Ultimately, that would mean Gov. Ducey’s signature would be required for any legislation to become law.
Kevin DeMenna, Chairman of the Legislative Governmental Mall Commission, has told the press that he and his panel do not have the authority to require any monuments be removed. House Speaker JD Mesnard also said the commission is “more of a manager” and it will take legislation to empower removal.
In a statement issued in response to the recent acts of vandalism, Rep. Bolding said, “Van- dalizing these monuments is not productive. This will not lead to the civil discourse and debate that we have been calling for ... It is a short-term action that does not help the long- term goal of having these offensive monuments removed from state property.”
10 • october 2017 | the NoISe arts & news | above: Taxonomy of cannabis from Kentucky State University, circa 1900. | illUSTraTion by w. müller

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