Supervisor Ally Miller didn’t violate county policy with her controversial Facebook comments announcing her white pride while neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville on Saturday, Aug. 12. The Pima County Board has no recourse to discipline or censure her, advised the Chief Civil Deputy County Attorney Andrew Flagg.
County policy states that “County employees are expected to be professional, respectful, fair, unbiased, honest, civic-minded, service-oriented and fiscally responsible,” but only when engaged in county duties. Miller made the comment on a Saturday evening, and therefore is entitled to be as offensive and insensitive as she sees fit.
“I think our First Amendment rights are alive and well, and I’m very pleased with the county attorney’s opinion,” Miller said following the meeting.
Many showed up to Tuesday’s board meeting to both condemn and support Miller.
Najima Rainey with Black Lives Matter Tucson spoke directly to Ally Miller, saying Miller can have German pride or Irish pride because those are cultures, but if Miller doesn’t realize that saying “white and proud” would be synonymous with the white supremacist movement, she’s not fit for her job.
“When you say, ‘I am white and proud,’ you are saying you embrace a designation of superiority,” Rainey said.
Local activist and former Pima County public defender Isabel Garcia also spoke, telling Miller she should acknowledge the racist history of this region and country—the genocide of indigenous people and enslavement of black people.
“Did we wake up and say these things were wrong?” she said. “We didn’t. We didn’t do what Germany did and say, ‘Never again.’”
Community member Bryna Koch echoed the sentiment of many who opposed Miller’s statements, saying that making that statement while neo-Nazis marched in broad daylight, “shows a lack of empathy and lack of a moral compass.”
“As a white person, I’m here to tell you that what you said is unacceptable,” she said. “The fact the Supervisor Miller thinks equality for everyone is a threat to her whiteness tells me everything I need to know.”
Some familiar faces showed up to support Miller, touting a common theme: Why are we concerned about the wellbeing of people of color when it’s so hard for us white people?
One woman called on Supervisor Richard Elías to apologize for “his racist comments” of saying he’s been stopped while going through Border Patrol checkpoints, and another regular said the board is part of the “abortion industry.”
Another disgruntled white lady said Miller shouldn't “apologize for being white,” adding that her own daughter graduated from the UA and is an American, so “why doesn't she get DACA?”
Supervisor Sharon Bronson said the board may chose to create a resolution to support the victims of Charlottesville and to denounce white supremacy. Either way, she said Miller should have at least apologised.
“There were people in our community who were affected and hurt by these remarks,” she said. “We need to move forward and start healing.”