IBLC calls for racial equity, implicit bias training, reprimands for disrespect

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) and members from the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) held a press conference today to discuss their recommendations to the Speaker of the House in response to last week's disrespectful behavior from Republican legislators during discussion of House Bill 1367.

The IBLC outlined three specific recommendations to the Speaker:

  1. Swift reprimands to the House legislators involved in the altercations last week.
  2. Mandatory racial equity and implicit bias training for all House legislators, so they may gain a better understanding of systemic racism and the role everyone plays.
  3. Assurance that the utmost safety precautions will be taken for all House legislators during the legislative session. 

The IBLC first called for these actions in a statement released immediately after last week's incidents.

“We as lawmakers have a responsibility to address concerning legislation, but cannot do so effectively unless legislators are able to be objective and separate their personal feelings from their legislation,” Shackleford explained.

“Just because we're saying that a specific policy is discriminatory does not mean we are calling that author 'racist.' Racism and implicit bias training would be the first step toward that understanding.”

Reps. Gregory W. Porter (D-Indianapolis), Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis), House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) and Shackleford met with the Speaker and his leadership team on Monday (Feb. 22), but did not receive a commitment from him on reprimands or training.

“To move forward, we need to acknowledge and address what happened. We can't just sweep it under the rug,” Shackleford said.

You can view a video of the IBLC press conference at https://www.facebook.com/INBlackLegislativeCaucus/videos/194785505744677.

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