FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - More than a century after slavery was abolished in our nation and decades after the civil rights movement, leaders in Coconino County found the need to speak up against discrimination.
Following the deadly clash during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, leaders in Coconino County and Flagstaff took action.
“There’s a few people out there pretending that that’s part of America, so the rest of the Americans need to speak up and say 'No, that is not America,” councilmember Jim McCarthy said.
“We wanted to stand up and say that we will not waver from these values,” Coconino County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Liz Archuleta said.
That stand came in the form of a letter and resolution from the City of Flagstaff and a resolution from the Coconino County Board of Supervisors. The documents reaffirmed their support of diversity, promotion of tolerance, equality and inclusion and condemnation of the advocacy of racial supremacy and discrimination based on religion, culture or sexual orientation.
McCarthy said the days when this wasn’t the case are behind Flagstaff.
“Flagstaff had segregated schools a couple generations ago, but we’ve moved beyond all that,” McCarthy said.
Chairwoman Archuleta said though she is proud of her county’s steps toward equality and hopes its spreads throughout the state, it is also a little disappointing.
“It’s also a little bit disheartening in the sense that here in 2017, we feel compelled to make a statement around race relations and making it clear that we will not waver on our values and that we will make sure that we stand up against any acts of racism,” Archuleta said.
City and county leaders said Thursday that they had not seen any organized discriminatory action following the events in Charlottesville, but they wanted to make it clear hate like that will not be tolerated in Flagstaff or Coconino County.