Indiana News

Indiana Black Legislative Caucus launches ‘call to action’ days; public invited to attend

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Black leaders want Hoosiers to voice their concerns at the Indiana Statehouse. The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus also wants support after a recent incident involving several state lawmakers.

The IBLC said these “call to action” days — March 1-4 and March 8-11 — are a chance for Black and brown Hoosiers to come together with one voice to say “we will not be ignored.”

“We deserve respect now, we deserved it yesterday, and we will deserve it tomorrow,” Billie Breaux, a former state senator, explained to News 8 on Monday.

Breaux is one of the people who came to the Statehouse on Monday for the first day of the IBLC’s “Call to Action” Days. She’s aware of the recent incident, where Black state lawmakers were booed and shouted down by some Republicans on the House floor. Breaux calls it a reminder.

“That we can hope that things are getting better. But when we look at the nitty-gritty, things are still the same or worse. I am so proud of the IBLC for standing up and living up to the legacy that this cannot continue to go on, and it stops right now. That’s my message for coming down here today — things must change,” Breaux said.

The IBLC passed out packets about advocacy training and detail bills on their legislative agenda.

“The Call to Action Days is an opportunity for citizens of our city and state to be able to come down and advocate on some of those bills that the IBLC either supports or opposes. And also voice their concerns over what happened last week in the Chamber, with a lot of racial tension,” said State Rep. Robin Shackleford, a Democrat from Indianapolis.

“I was personally embarrassed by those events. I am committed, today, to increased focus on maintaining decorum, civility and professionalism in this institution,” House Speaker Todd Huston, a Republican from Fishers, explained to House lawmakers on Feb. 22.

Shackleford chairs the IBLC and told News 8 these action days were planned in response to the recent Statehouse incident.

“I think what can come from this, that we’re looking for, for the IBLC, is the three recommendations that we made: That the people that were involved in the incident are reprimanded. So support for that reprimand, which can be educational or it can be punitive. Then for some type of training, implicit bias training or something to bring us together as members and make sure we understand each other’s background, each other’s experiences,” Shackleford said.

These action days are open to the public, and everyone is invited. Shackleford told News 8 if you do come to schedule you visit with a legislative assistant so state lawmakers know you’re coming and can engage with you.

According to the IBLC, these leaders are scheduled to attend:

  • Tanya Bell Mckinzie, Indiana Black Expo
  • Barbara Bolling-Williams, NAACP
  • Willis Bright, African American Coalition of Indianapolis
  • Pastor David Greene, Concerned Clergy
  • Tony Mason, Indianapolis Urban League
  • Robert Shegog, Indianapolis Recorder
  • Marshawn Wholley, African American Coalition of Indianapolis

Others who are confirmed to attend, according to an IBLC press secretary:

  • Moms Demand Action, Martin University, and College Democrats of American on March 3
  • Chi-Delta Sigma Theta on March 8
  • NAACP and Marla Godette with Mentoring Moments on March 9
  • Moms Demand Action on March 10

The IBLC asks that Individuals or organizations interested in attending one of the IBLC action days contact IBLC Executive Director RaeVen Ridgell at raeven.ridgell@iga.in.gov for more information.

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