A virtual memorial held for Calvin C. Goode, a civil rights activist and a 22-year member of the Phoenix City Council, was derailed when a group of hackers began yelling racial slurs.
According to AZ Central, the interruption began 20 minutes into the ceremony while Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego (D) was giving her remarks. The hackers began yelling the n-word and several other obscenities in the call, which was being broadcast on both Zoom and Facebook Live. “I condemn the racists who disrupted Vice Mayor Goode’s funeral services,” Gallego tweeted shortly after the incident. “This is horrific and does not represent the values & commitment of our community. I am determined to continue Vice Mayor Goode’s fight.”
Gallego was not the only Arizona official to express their disgust at what occurred. “It’s an outrage that Councilman Calvin Goode’s memorial was interrupted by hate-spewing white supremacists,” U.S. Rep Greg Stanton (D-Az.) tweeted.
Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski released a statement calling the hate speech “atrocious and unforgivable.” He added that as chair of the Public Safety and Justice subcommittee, he will be working alongside Phoenix police “to find the parties responsible for this and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
Jevin Hodge, president of the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center, an organization founded by Goode 55 years ago, told AZ Central that he is “heartbroken” over what transpired during Goode’s memorial service. He told the news outlet that the anger he immediately felt in the moment eventually gave way to tears.
“He represented everything good with our city, with our state,” Hodge stressed. “For people to deface him and disrespect him and disregard him in that matter is heartbreaking.”
Gallego gave a press conference on Tuesday afternoon addressing what had transpired. She said that while it’s unclear if the harassment had any relationship to the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol last week, she expressed concern at the fact that “our civil discourse is so poor.”
Goode was first elected to Phoenix City Council in 1971, representing southeast Phoenix and Ahwatukee Foothills. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor in 1990 before eventually retiring from politics in 1994. Goode was only the second Black person to serve on the Phoenix City Council and was often cited as the council’s “conscience” due to his efforts in fighting inequity and supporting underprivileged youth. Goode passed on Dec. 23 at the age of 93 from a non-COVID related illness.
The city of Phoenix will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday with a virtual ceremony honoring the latest recipient of the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award.