Sherry Gay Dagnogo is a Democratic member of the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the 8th District of Detroit.

Dear Michigan Republican colleagues,

Serving as a Black woman in Michigan’s Legislature is no easy task.  We’re often misunderstood, misinterpreted, and in many instances left on what has felt like an island alone. 

Related: 

We’re not a monolithic culture, and, no, we don’t agree on all things; however, we’ve all experienced at one point in our career feeling that isolation.  What I’ve watched over the last few days is no different.

While it is completely uncomfortable for many of my colleagues in Michigan’s Legislature to talk about, racism is real. The acts of terror that I and other Black legislators have had to endure are unacceptable: During the MAGA protests, what appeared to be a noose was left on the Capitol lawn, while angry white men with assault weapons were greeted with smiles, hugs, claps and even pictures. 

To simply say hate and threats are unacceptable, without acknowledging that we all felt threatened by assault weapons in the Capitol is disheartening. 

Threats are indeed unacceptable, and not one member of our body should ever feel threatened.

Sen. Dale Zorn wore a Confederate flag mask that his “wife made” on the Senate floor, and tried to convince the world it wasn’t Confederate.

Neither of the aforementioned actions was met by my Republican colleagues with the same vitriol as Rep. Cynthia A. Johnson’s Facebook rant. 

Is there a double standard?  Certainly, and there always has been for African Americans.  When you ask why we kneel, or why we say or wear Black Lives Matter, it’s because of these obvious biases and savage inequalities.

I’m shouting Black Lives Matter until the actions of this legislative body are met with equitable responses, I urge my Republican colleagues to stay far away from any moral sentiments, which is why I am asking publicly, with just days left under my watch for my Detroit Caucus members to stand together in support of our sister’s time of need.

The decision to remove Rep. Cynthia Johnson from her committee assignments is an act of aggression against our community, against Detroit, a prejudicial bias, and a very obvious double standard that cannot go ignored, nor should the leaders of our city no longer tolerate.  This must stop if we are to grow and affect change as statesmen and stateswomen. #BlackLivesMatter

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4 Comments

  1. Curious why this op-ed piece fails to mention the removal of Rep. Gary Eisen from his committee posts in virtually the same manner. That removal occurred 4 days before this op-ed piece was written. Either the author is not keeping up with the current actions of the House, or the author is intentionally ignoring the equal approach that has been used to discipline House members.

    Either way, not a good (or honest) look for the author.

    1. “Intentionally ignoring the equal approach” is spot on. Selectively setting aside facts that don’t fit the narrative being presented is a longstanding tactic of both sides. It’s shameful and embarrassing.

  2. Even in these contentious times I think we can all agree (with our mothers) that two wrongs don’t make a right. What Rep. Johnson did was wrong. She should be held accountable. The fact that others did wrong things (and were or were not held accountable) is another matter entirely. Such issues should be addressed on their own merits.

  3. Knowing that Rep. Johnson has received racist death threats, I will say that her own threatening rant is understandable, and possibly forgivable. It certainly was not acceptable. It only served to further the Us against Them attitude that is far too prevalent.

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