MIAMI, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The town council in Miami, Arizona passed a proclamation Monday night, officially recognizing February as Black History Month.

The vote comes after comments made during a town council meeting in early February, when the proclamation was first introduced. At that time, the proclamation was tabled, a move that generated controversy in our state.

February is officially recognized across the country as Black History Month. 

The Feb. 8 meeting started off routinely, with the Pledge of Allegiance and the reading of the agenda. But shortly after it began, Councilman Don Reiman expressed displeasure at proclaiming February Black History Month.

"There's a big to-do about the Black community wanting to revise history and tear down all the monuments and not deal with the history, and we're supposed to set forth Black History Month," said Reiman. "It kind of seems like there's kind of a contradiction in those two philosophies."

Those comments eventually led to a unanimous decision to table Mayor Sammy Gonzales' proclamation for February being Black History Month. Mayor Gonzales has a hard time understanding the council's decision.

"We live in a diverse community here. There's Hispanics, there's of course whites, there's African Americans in this community," says Gonzales. "Most of them have lived here there whole life."

Mayor Gonzales says his proclamation was aimed at promoting the history of Black people in our country. But when read aloud, the city council members had a different perspective on what they heard, saying it sounded political.

The councilmembers' decision to table the proclamation drew immediate criticism on social media, with several questioning how this kind of thinking could still exist in 2021. 

East Valley NAACP executive Roy Tatem says part of the problem is thinking that history and politics are two separate concepts. "I would say that Black History Month is both historical, cultural, and political," says Tatem. "Because we've known that for political purposes, Black people have either been empowered or been marginalized."

Arizona's Family spoke to one of the Miami councilmembers about what happened at the meeting. He didn't want to be on camera but did say that it was tabled to allow Mayor Gonzales to explain further in-person his reasoning for creating this proclamation. 

Before the council voted on the proclamation, Vice Mayor Dan Moat issued an apology to the community. "I would like to apologize if us tabling this Black History Month Offended anyone. I know each person here personally, and I know there's no bias." said Moat. 

Editor's Note: This story has been updated since its first publication to reflect the council's passage of the proclamation on Feb. 22, 2021. 

 

Copyright 2020 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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