After Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey refused to remove Confederate memorials from state grounds, a local resident decided to take matters into her own hands.
Rebecca Olsen McHood, a registered Republican, had grown tired of seeing the Confederate memorial at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza untouched, especially after the violent Charlottesville rally that resulted in the death of a counter-protester by a white nationalist. So on Tuesday afternoon, she grew even more impatient as she heard the president's remarks.
As soon as he told the nation that there were “very fine people” on both sides, she decided to act.
“I was just so outraged by Trump’s press conference,” she told reporters. “I thought, I have to do something.”
But before she put her plans into action, she checked with her non-white friends to see if turning the memorial into the largest participation trophy the world had ever seen was too soon, to which her friends said “no.” So she headed to the Arizona Capitol where the Confederate memorial stands and got her hands dirty.
As she placed a banner that read “2nd Place Participant” and another that read “You lost, get over it” on the monument, an officer walked up to her and said she could not “attach anything” to the monument. So instead, she just “kinda laid it over the monument,” she told reporters. Then, she took a few photos and headed to a DACA rally taking place at the same time.
“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen — I wasn’t sure if people were convening at Confederate monuments around the state or not," she recalled. "I know we have some white power people who like to have little rallies, but they get, like 20 people, so I wasn’t too concerned for my safety.”
After placing the banners on the monument, she said she feared the officer was going to remove them, but as she and her friend drove away, they noticed that the signs hadn't gone anywhere.
“It felt good to do something,” she explained. “White supremacists don't speak for me, and it's not OK that Trump is condoning it. It's disgusting.”
Having volunteered for George W. Bush's campaign and then having voted for John McCain and Mitt Romney later, McHood says that she did not support Trump in the primaries. Still, she cannot see the racism and simply turn a blind eye.
“There’s no room for racism anymore, and it’s not OK that our president is standing up for Nazis. It’s abhorrent — I have no words for it,” she concluded.
Showing that you can make a statement without putting others in danger and without resorting to violence or vandalism, McHood stood her ground and sent the country a strong anti-racism message. Hopefully, others will follow suit.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder