PHOENIX - Arizona Democratic leaders gathered in front of the confederate monument at the Wesley Bolin Plaza near Arizona's Capitol Building Tuesday asking for its removal.
"As a member of the state Legislature, as a community leader and as an African American, it is painful every single day to have to pass this Confederate monument," state Rep. Reginald Bolding said. "When we talk about the Confederacy and all that it stood for, it signified that African Americans should not be seen as human."
The Phoenix monument, erected in 1961 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to memorialize Arizona Confederate soldiers, has made headlines recently after it was decorated and then spray painted white.
Bolding went on to say the monument was "in no form, shape or fashion" put there to honor the soldiers who fought.
"It was put here to say that African Americans should not be seen as having equal rights," Bolding said.
Incidents of vandalism and protesting of Confederate monuments have been happening across the country since riots broke out two weekends ago when white supremacist groups rallied to protect a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, VA.
Former congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick echoed Boldings comments.
"The most important fact about the Confederacy was, it was wrong," Kirkpatrick said. "It was a government dedicated to the principle of slavery that some people should be able to own other people. How can we look at our children and tell them we celebrate that government?"
Kirkpatrick called upon Ducey and state leaders to "correct this flaw" and remove the monument from public space.
"This memorial was built in '61, not 1861, 1961," she said. "It was put here at a time of violence and terrorism against Black Americans to celebrate slavery and to fight against civil rights."
Gov. Doug Ducey has said he has no desire to tear down any of the state's Confederate monuments and there is a public process for those looking to remove them.