East Valley NAACP President Discusses Removal Of Confederate Monuments

Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 2:52pm
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 4:35pm
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(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
Confederate memorial near Arizona's Capitol building.
(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
East Valley NAACP President Roy Tatem speaking to reporters, asking the governor to help take down Confederate memorials.

 The country is still reeling from one death and 19 injuries in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend during protests by white supremacist groups.

Neo-Nazis and groups like the Klu Klux Klan gathered in the city over the weekend for a “Unite the Right” rally to protest the city’s planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

On Monday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey condemned the white supremacist groups that held the rally in Virginia, saying he “100 percent condemns these hate groups, the KKK, the Klan, neo-Nazis, white nationalists."

But he again said that he would not take the lead in removing six Confederate monuments here, as civil rights advocates here have called for him to do.

In 2015, state lawmaker Reginald Bolding called for the renaming of the Jefferson Davis Highway near Apache Junction. And earlier this summer, leaders from the African-American community here spoke out calling for the immediate removal of all of the Confederate monuments in the state.

Arizona community leaders came together today at the site of a Confederate memorial near the Capitol to denounce the governor’s response to taking down local Confederate statues.

For more on that, we’re joined now by one of those leaders who called for the monuments’ removal in June. Roy Tatem Jr. is the president of the East Valley Chapter of the NAACP.

Tatem said he respects the legal process to remove the memorial, but thinks the words and actions of Governor Doug Ducey would send an important message.

“We would also like for Governor Ducey to take lead and open up the door," Tatem said. "He can call a meeting, he can convene a meeting. We would like for him to do that in good faith, to show us that he is about inclusion and that he is for all of Arizona, not just the Confederates.”

Tatem warned against citizens taking down the memorial itself, saying going through the proper process was the best way.

This comes in the midst of national news about race relations and the validity of Confederate monuments.

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