There was a short presentation on the history of this monument and it’s travels to this location in Gold Canyon. Details can be found here: https://jeffreydavidburgess.com/arizonas-jefferson-davis-monument/
The Reverend Dr. Helen Hunter, candidate for legislative district 16 statehouse, made this statement:
“Today ... we honor the life and death of George Floyd ... as he is laid in his final resting place ...way to soon ... And we acknowlede and mourn the many others who have died at the hands of those who do not honor the right - the guaranteed constitutional right – of every American to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. George Floyd ... A symbol of unnecessary and unjustified use of force - a symbol of many of the injustices that have plagued our society for hundreds of years ... It is necessary ... it is incumbent upon us - to replace symbols of brutality, injustice, hate, bias, and prejudice ...with symbols of love, honor, empathy, charity, compassion, and respect for one another ... what our flag and our country represent."
Irene Chavez, local activist for Somos America/We are America, also spoke to the crowd of demonstrators. Ever four months they meet with the monitor from the DOJ to see that the mandate of the court is met. "Sheriff Penzone continues to racially profile by stopping more Mexican drivers than Anglo-Americans. The first thing he tried to do was disband the court appointed Community Advisory Board. The next was to hold meetings early and far away so we could not attend. Somos America complained to the judge via the ACLU and he was directed to hold the community meetings but also has to be present. Racism is alive and well in Arizona. We have a lot of work to do...”
Delina DiSanto, candidate for Congressional District 4, spoke on how important it is to reform our criminal justice system and how it will take all of us working at the local and national level to fix this unequal system of justice.
A petition was circulated for people to sign requesting this monument be removed from Gold Canyon. Efforts will continue to work with the responsible agencies for its removal to a more appropriate venue where it can be viewed in the proper context of its intended purpose in history. If you would like to add your name to this petition please go to this url: https://forms.gle/9eedQ4EeqhU3Fmxj7
When her home telephone rang at 7:30 one morning a few weeks ago, Susan Wortman considered just letting it ring.
But she decided to answer the call, and the resulting conversation changed her life. On the other end was a distant cousin of her husband’s. He was calling from Israel and had been searching for Susan and Randy Wortman for years.
“I didn’t even know these cousins existed,” Susan said.
The Israeli branch of the family found its American cousin through an article about Randy and Susan that ran in the Casa Grande Dispatch and on PinalCentral in July.
“If not for the article, I don’t think they would have found me,” Wortman said.
Randy Wortman died about three months ago, but connecting with his European cousins has led Susan to learn stories about the family she never knew and those stories will be passed on to her daughter and grandchildren.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know these family members,” Wortman said. “I’m learning stuff about Randy’s family that I never knew. There are so many pieces of the puzzle out there, and we’re starting to connect the pieces.”
Through the newly found family members, Susan said she learned that Randy’s parents, Sylvia and Sol Wortman, helped the Israeli branch of the family during World War II.
“Sol Wortman came to the United States in the 1920s, but most of his family stayed behind in Poland,” Wortman said. “Some went to Israel.”
Those who remained in Poland died during the Holocaust, Wortman said, but some made it to Israel.
Throughout the war, Sol and Sylvia Wortman sent food, clothing and money to the family in Palestine, which helped them survive.
In the years after the war, Sylvia Wortman wrote letters to the family and often mentioned her son Randy in the letters.
“The woman in Israel Sylvia was writing to, Sarah, learned to read and write English by reading Sylvia’s letters,” Wortman said. “It was her son (Mo Wortman) who wanted to find Randy.”
Later, the American Wortmans helped some of the Israeli Wortmans immigrate to the United States.
“Sol and Sylvia were very humble and didn’t talk about what they had done for other members of the family,” Susan said. “But Sol and Sylvia were very important to the family members who they’d helped. They kept a photo of Sol and Sylvia on their wall. But over the years, they lost contact.”
Through an internet search, one cousin discovered a July article in the Casa Grande Dispatch about Randy and Susan writing a book.
Susan and Randy spent decades working in education in Casa Grande and Chicago.
Randy was suffering from Parkinson’s disease at the time, and the couple was working to preserve the stories about their careers and family.
Randy was a physics teacher and school administrator in Chicago and later became the first principal at Casa Grande Union High School after the new campus on Trekell Road opened in 1997. He was also a principal at the district’s Desert Winds campus.
After the initial early morning phone call, the family held a mini family reunion via Zoom.
“We ended up having a Zoom call with 11 people in three countries,” Wortman said. “Five cousins live in Israel, one in London, England, one in Rochester, New York, and the rest of us live in Arizona, California, Washington and Illinois.”
Susan’s oldest grandson, now 17, plans to visit Israel next year and hopes to meet the cousins in person.
Susan also hopes to travel to Israel to meet them.
The Israeli cousins are working to create a family tree for the next generation of Wortmans.
“It gets bigger each day,” Wortman said.
Democrats from all around the county came to participate in the parade and attend the voter registration booth on the Midway during the March 7th festivities.
Linda Patterson, candidate for the Arizona Senate seat in Legislative District 11 (left), and campaign manager Nancy Musgrave
Two of the Dems of Casa Grande's finest! From left to right: Mike Hurley and Ralph Atchue (chairman)
Always an exciting sight, the flyby of vintage WWII planes at the start of the parade.
Come to our next meeting - on the 4th Thursday of every month. For location and time, click here.