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Phoenix religious leaders unite against racism

"We have seen community like never before," says Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr., of the crowd of several dozen faith leaders.

PHOENIX — Religious leaders from different backgrounds in Phoenix took to the State Capitol today to speak out against racism.

"We have seen community like never before," Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr., of the First Institutional Baptist Church, said about the crowd of several dozen faith leaders.

The leaders united together to push for change and combat systemic racism.

 "We deal with this daily," Rev. Reginald D. Walters of the Philips Memorial CME Church said.

The movement, sparked by George Floyd’s death, is still picking up steam nationwide, and religious leaders wanted people to know how it's affecting their communities.

In the wake of his death, we’ve seen pro athletes sporting a clear message: Black Lives Matter; NASCAR banning confederate flags; some teams dropping controversial names; corporations from Adidas to Estee Lauder to Facebook vowing to diversify their staffs to better reflect the population.

"It’s very personal for me," says Rev. Walters. "I am a person who lives, breathes, and understands social justice."

Rev. Walters has had a long history with social justice in the Valley, most recently joining the NAACP in calling for state Governor Doug Ducey to remove Confederate monuments in the state.

One monument was located at Wesley Bolin Plaza in downtown Phoenix and another was located near Gold Canyon off U.S. 60. PHOENIX - The United Daughters of the Confederacy moved two Confederate monuments on state property in Arizona to private property, according to a spokesperson with the state.

Actions like these and community conversations, he says, are all a step in the right direction.

"I have a 14-year-old son," he explains.  "And I want the world to be a little bit better for him than it was for me."