Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
On August 11, a white supremacist protest against removal of a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent, and a young woman, who was a counter-protester, was killed. This sparked anti-hate/anti-fascism/anti-Nazi marches across the country, including an estimated 1500 people who marched through downtown Tucson.
President Trump’s claim that there was “violence on both sides” in Charlottesville ran counter to what many Americans saw in the news and on social media.
Presidential comments that appeared supportive of white supremacists, the rumor that Trump would soon pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (which did happened), Trump’s threat to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t fund the border wall, and the potential end of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)– all made Trump’s August 22 campaign rally in Phoenix a potential powder keg.
After Trump’s speech, there were clashes between Phoenix police and anti-fascist protesters. The news reports have primarily focused on the violence and whether or not the police response was justified.
BUT for hours before, the anti-hate/anti-fascism/anti-Trump/anti-Arpaio/anti-Nazi protesters were noisy but non-violent. More than 5000 Arizonans braved the 105+ degree heat to protest outside of Trump’s speech in the Convention Center.
My husband Jim and I were part of a contingent of Unitarian Universalists (UUs) who came up from Tucson to protest. We started out at the 3:30 rally at the Capitol and later took the city bus to the staging area in a downtown park. We got off the bus as the protesters were streaming into the street and toward the Convention Center. We wandered around and through the protest for three hours, shooting video, snapping photos, and greeting friends along the way.
I was pleased and surprised to see both Democratic Party gubernatorial candidates at the protest– Senator Steve Farley and Dr. David Garcia. I also saw Tucson City Councilwomen Regina Romero and Karin Uhlich. Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales and I were interviewed live by an NBC-TV reporter from Los Angeles. There was a good showing of UUs from multiple churches. (In the video, you can see the bright yellow “Standing on the Side of Love” t-shirts.)
Here is a video that I shot at two rallies.