WASHINGTON - In response to the
Arizona House of Representatives silencing of its only two African-American
legislators for opposing the use of a racial slur by Arizona State Rep. Maria
Syms in a media article, the President of the National Black Caucus of State
Legislators, Indiana State Representative Gregory W. Porter, released the
"The National Black Caucus
of State Legislators (NBSCL) stands in support of Arizona State Representatives
Reginald Bolding and Geraldine Peten for condemning the use of the
"N-word" by a sitting legislator and oppose the Arizona House of
Representatives decision to silence these public servants for speaking out
against the use of this derogatory term by a White state legislator.
Given the history of our nation,
it is incomprehensible that a sitting lawmaker would use a word that has
inflicted so much pain and indignity on Black Americans. Unfortunately, this is
not an isolated incident, but rather a pattern of behavior observed in
statehouses across the nation. For example, West Virginia House Del. Saira
Blair used the racial slur in a video created after she was elected to office
and Florida State Sen. Frank Artiles used the derogatory term to describe other
Florida State Senators. This is unacceptable.
Moreover, NBCSL insists that
state legislatures never silence African-American legislators that condemn the
use of the "N-word." By voting to silence Rep. Bolding and Rep.
Peten, Arizona's only two African-American state legislators, the Arizona House
of Representatives disregarded the concerns of the thousands of
African-Americans in Arizona and seemed to ratify the behavior of Rep. Syms.
Given the divisive rhetoric that
we hear from politicians on all levels of government, it is more important now
than ever before to ensure a diverse group of voices are able to speak out
against injustice-especially when it happens in the halls of government. NBCSL
and its members will continue to condemn the use of this racial slur by
legislators and work to improve relations between communities of different
races within America."