It is Black History Month in the United States and the Black Caucus of the Wisconsin Legislature would like to pass a resolution celebrating black leaders in America. As I said in the headline, something like this should come flying out of committee and pass on the floor by acclamation.
But wait, the GOP, all of whom are white, object to two of the black leaders included in the resolution: Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and Milwaukee Pastor Greg Lewis. Because they are dangerous revolutionaries? Because they are insidious law breakers? No…because they are…dare I say it…controversial.
Controversial? Let us keep in mind that 50+ years ago the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was controversial. And why are they controversial? Because one protests the continued racism rampant in America and the other points out the obstacles still in the way of voting equality in America. So aren’t these black leaders?
So it gets murkier as the GOP presented their own version of the resolution removing Mr. Kaepernick and Pastor Lewis and replacing them with current Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and former Wisconsin Secretary of State, the late Vel Phillips. Both dignitaries worthy of the honor but…not the choices made by the black caucus. Wow.
Well my feeling is controversial is a good thing. It gets the conversations flowing and maybe now is the time to have a discussion about racism on the floor of the state legislature. And if the GOP wants to feel good about itself…maybe it should accept the resolution of the black caucus…and amend it to include LG. Barnes and Ms. Phillips. And then pass the resolution by acclamation!
For the second time in as many years, Wisconsin lawmakers clashed on party lines over how to honor Black History Month as some Republicans objected to a resolution offered by the Legislature’s Black Caucus, which is composed of only Democrats.
There are no African-American Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature.
“Colin Kaepernick is obviously a controversial figure,” ( Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna) Steineke said, adding that the Assembly should be “all in agreement” on anyone its members honor.
“The biggest issue for us as a black caucus is people choosing to pick our leaders for us,” (David) Crowley, a Democratic state representative from Milwaukee, said about Republican opposition to the caucus’ resolution. He said the Republican leaders’ decision not to allow a vote on the caucus’ resolution is a “slap in the face.”
It’s time that the healing get started in Wisconsin and here’s the perfect opportunity.