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Guest opinion

Santa Cruz: Confederate flags are why I refuse to walk in the Tucson Rodeo Parade

The Confederate flag is a symbol of slavery, oppression, and white supremacy. Yet, year after year, the Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee embraces and celebrates it by creating space for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and by displaying it with the color guard leading the parade.

Following the Tucson Rodeo Parade this year, the City of Tucson Ward 1 Office received multiple calls from upset neighbors who were demanding to know why we would allow Confederate flags to fly during the parade. In response, we reached out to the parade committee to make them aware of the public's concerns and to see how they were responding to these complaints. To our surprise, their response was dismissive, and we received a trite lesson on heritage and history.

This is unacceptable.

Rather than promote inclusivity, the Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee has fed into Confederate revisionism, which is the narrative that the Civil War was about state rights, not about slavery; that the Confederate cause was just and heroic. This narrative attempts to erase reality, and obscures the fact that the South fought to perpetuate the violent enslavement of human bodies. If you want further evidence that slavery was the central motivating factor driving the Confederacy, read the Articles of Secession.

Related: Tucson Rodeo Parade to ban Confederate 'battle flag'; won't change color guard

South Carolina wrote that they were breaking away from the United States because of "an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding states to the institution of slavery,"

Mississippi wrote, "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery--the greatest material interest of the world."

Texas wrote, "We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various states, and of the Confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race."

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Related: Confederate veterans are part of Arizona's history

Despite evidence, the history of the Confederacy has been twisted, facts distorted, disgrace and shame framed to appear romantic and heroic. According to one of the promotional videos for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Confederate soldiers "personified the best qualities of America" and "the preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the second American revolution."


Slavery, oppression, and white supremacy were the motivating factors behind the South's secession, not liberty, not freedom.

February is Black History Month, and in the United States of America we honor the stories, struggles, and resilience of our community through the African American perspective. In Tucson, this gets overshadowed when we allow the Confederate flag to fly under the pretense of heritage and history.

The Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee told my office that they do not endorse any political or social movement. Well, there is no such thing as apolitical history. The Confederate flag, the mission of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the dismissive attitude of the rodeo committee send a clear message to our black Tucson community that their historic experience doesn't matter.

It does. And until the Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee takes corrective action I will continue to refuse to participate, and I believe that the City of Tucson should stop investing in the parade.

Lane Santa Cruz is a Democrat representing Ward 1 on the Tucson City Council.

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Latest comments on this storyRead all 10 »

Mar 2, 2020, 4:31 pm
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Oh my, you seem to think you know me, and you don’t.  You actually seem to be what you projected as who I am. That was is a classic and chronic behavior of the left.  Borderline personality disorder, not curable.  I will not see people in the 21 century judge people of the past with their liberal Ideals.  You are the single focused.  Want to read something that might wake you up?  Read “Out of America” by keith B. Richburg.  I added a fresh idea to this roster bet you didn’t know blacks owned, sold and promoted slavery?  That the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free one slave in the South and left slaves in the north in slavery.  Why would some one like Marxist Lincoln do that?  Bet you never thought about that.  What right did he have to invade a sovereign country and if not sovereign attack his own citizens.  He was 1860’s Bernie Sanders.

Mar 2, 2020, 4:19 pm
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Slavery was outlawed three years after Mexico declared independence from Spain. One reason Anglo newcomers in Texas revolted against Mexico was that slavery was illegal—and they wanted to keep their slaves. *You* need to do more research, though I’m sure you won’t—you seem like one of those people who’s very happy to know what they think they know and don’t dare add a fresh or correct idea to the roster.

Mar 2, 2020, 3:58 pm
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I have read them and the individual state constitutions. that means nothing other than they are declaring that after the attacks on them by Northern State who also had slaves they are responding saying we will do what we want.  It really means nothing in regard to why the war was fought.  Now for the institution of slavery that was a multi-color proposition it had nothing to do just do with whites.  The marxist mouth of hate and separation “white supremacy” is nonsense.  There were blacks who sold and owned slave in the U.S.  You need to do more research and the lady that wrote this article is just ranting about many things that just are not true and putting one racist bow on it.  That is divisive.  Remove the Mexican flag they had slaves.  Actually don’t in a free country they can fly it.  Now “offended?” too bad get a real reason to not like especially is you are offended selfishly on ignorance and a self serving agenda.  This article can be published but is disgraceful and bigoted.

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Click image to enlarge

courtesy Curtis Dutiel

A Confederate flag, center, was flown last week by the honor guard at the front of the Tucson rodeo parade, along with a U.S. flag, and the flags of Arizona and Mexico and a variant of the 'castles and lions' Spanish royal standard.


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