Protesting Racism in Prescott, AZ
Barbara Brasswell is the Director of Religious Education at the Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Prescott, AZ
A perfect storm of racist behavior happened in Prescott, AZ this week. First, a mural being done on the outside of Miller Valley school depicting a Latino, black and white student caused a firestorm when the artists were asked to “lighten” the skin tone of the Latino and black kids. At the same time Steve Blair, city councilman, blasted the mural on his AM radio show, saying that having a Latino and black kid on the mural does not represent our city, and that they must have been put in there just because we have a black president. The Daily Courier, our local paper, ran a front-page story about the mural “lightening” and Blair’s racist comments.
What happened next is amazing! A friend called me to join her to protest the mural lightening, so she wouldn’t be by herself. I called, texted, emailed and Facebooked everyone I knew encouraging them to join us. A friend of a friend has media contacts, and ABC News and the local paper called me for comment. An organic, word-of-mouth protest of over 400 was pulled together in a day and a half! This morning we heard the school superintendent and Miller Valley school principal say they were wrong. They made a mistake and would allow the mural to stay true to the artists’ original plan. The children on the mural will NOT be lightened! Steve Blair was fired from his radio show last night and a petition went around at the protest to recall him from City Council. I’m so proud of the people of Prescott for standing tall and proud and making a statement that we will NOT accept racism in our town! Much thanks for all the support from those near and far!