IBLC statement regarding Holcomb’s 2021 Next Level Agenda
INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis), Chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC), today released the following statement in response to Governor Holcomb's 2021 Next Level Agenda:
“I am extremely disappointed in Governor Holcomb's failure to address the racial justice issues and disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on Black and Brown communities in our state. He spoke for 15 minutes on completing highways and improving our manufacturing capacity, but didn't take the time to address his new Chief Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity Officer by name.
“Additionally, it is unreasonable to suggest that a new cabinet position, regardless of who is appointed, will be able to adequately address and resolve the abundance of racial disparities occurring in our state without significant support. The IBLC certainly plans to collaborate with Ms. Herring where we can, but the Governor must also make that commitment.
“While we join Governor Holcomb in celebrating the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines, we cannot help but wonder how many Black and Brown lives could have been saved if the Governor had heeded our recommendations and seriously tackled the racial disparity amongst cases. The release of the Indiana Health Disparities Task Force's findings laid it out for all Hoosiers to see, but very little change has come from it. The rare mention of minorities in the Governor's agenda refers to additional data collection, but no specific action. What use is all this data if we aren't going to do anything with it?
“In one of the IBLC's many efforts to resolve the glaring racial justice issues in our state, I will co-author a game-changing, bipartisan bill regarding the hiring and training process for law enforcement officers. This bill has the potential to change the course of the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities, but will fail without the Governor's support. I urge Governor Holcomb to speak up and keep justice reform alive for the sake of all Hoosiers.”