25 signatures reached
To: Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
Take It Down Now: Confederate Troops Memorial, Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza
Remove the Confederate Troops Memorial statue immediately and relocate it to a Civil War or Civil Rights history museum or to the Arizona Historical Society.
Why is this important?
On Valentine's Day 1912, just two years before the first World War officially broke out and 47 years after the Civil War ended, Arizona became a U.S. state, adding to the growing diversity of the government. That diversity extended to people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, and beliefs. As citizens of the United States and as upholders of the Constitution, we should do our utmost each day to ensure that everyone entitled to these liberties, can receive them.
During a dark period in American history, many men and women were transported like objects to the Americas in what became known as the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. After more than 400 years of slavery, due to the diligence of numerous abolitionists, the American government finally came to understand the inhumanity and cruelty of slavery and abolished it. The U.S. had been practicing slavery up until 1864, when the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was passed, one year after President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. However, many felt that the liberties etched into our Constitution did not extend to everyone. The South heavily relied on slave labor and had built their society using those African men and women. Many Southerners believed that slaves did not have the right to the freedoms the United States promised. Fearing equal treatment of African peoples and the loss of their free labor, seven states seceded to form a separate government where they could keep the institution of slavery. They declared themselves The Confederate States of America, or the Confederacy, and as such, enemies of the U.S.
Despite the North prevailing victorious in the fight against the Confederacy, there have been monuments erected to honor the memory of these men around our great nation. in Phoenix, there is one in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza.
The monument was erected in 1961, nearly one hundred years after the Confederacy fell. It was purchased by the Daughters of the Confederacy, a group that paid for the distribution of Confederate statues in mass quantities during the Civil Rights Era. They believed that the Confederacy and its soldiers represented a society of white supremacy. As a result of this thinking, the Daughters of the Confederacy felt these Confederates would be efficient propaganda for anti-Civil Rights. Most Confederate monuments were similarly erected during the Civil Rights era for the same purpose, not during or immediately after the Civil War which many mistakenly believe. They were produced to intimidate minorities, mainly black Americans and to vindicate white supremacy. This line of thinking is not a representation of what America stood for then, and is definitely not what America stands for now. Statues and monuments are created to honor figures of prestige. We must remember that the Confederate Troops Memorial is a monument erected to honor the Confederates who took up arms against the Constitution of the United States, men who sought to keep people from their inalienable rights.
In history, when a civilization or monarch was brought down, their monuments were also toppled to signal to everyone that the people of that society would not stand for the way of life that the civilization or monarch had stood for. Why then should we keep the Confederate Troops Memorial in a public plaza, if we support the U.S. Constitution when it states "all men are created equal" and "neither slavery not involuntary servitude...shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction"? The real heroes who should be honored with memorials and statues are the men and women who fought for what's right, who defended the Constitution and the civil liberties of all.
As a black person living in Arizona, I don't like the thought that a monument exists that honors any group that sought to prevent people like myself from having rights. It is still propaganda, as we saw this past summer in Charlottesville, Virginia. People still look to these monuments to validate intimidating black people and people of color. Taking it down sends a message that our community will not tolerate any action that terrorizes another nor any hate crime and helps black people and people of color feel secure. If I ever have children, I would like to walk them through the Plaza and show them a monument dedicated to a group who fought to save people, not threaten them. Please remember how diverse your constituents are. They elected you to represent them. I am writing this petition to implore you, Mayor Greg Stanton, to represent us and remove this monument which serves as a pedestal which honors people who did not honor us. No matter how much societal change we enact, it will be for naught if we remain awed by the deeds these men performed. I agree that history should not be lost, and to quote Governor Ducey, "I don't think that we should try to hide our history." But there is a difference between honoring our history and exhibiting it. Statues, as we can all agree, are erected to honor someone or something. These men don't deserve to be honored by a monument in our great and diverse nation any more than our enemies abroad do. They did not serve our country; they served theirs, the Confederacy. That is why i think that this monument's place is in a museum and not the Memorial Plaza.