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.
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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