IBLC: This is only the beginning. Keep talking.

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) held a press conference today to conclude their Call to Action Days at the Statehouse and express their gratitude for the overwhelming support they have felt from advocacy groups across the state and nation.

The IBLC acknowledged the advocacy groups that gathered over the past two weeks to express their support for the IBLC and their recommendations to the Speaker of the House to require implicit bias training and reprimands in response to disrespectful behavior on the House floor on Feb. 18. These advocacy groups included:

•                     African American Coalition of Indianapolis

•                     College Democrats of Indiana

•                     Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis & Clergy from around the state

•                     Delta Sigma Theta

•                     Faith in Indiana 

•                     Former Elected Officials

•                     Hoosier Women Forward

•                     Indiana Coalition for Human Services

•                     Indiana Minority Health Coalition

•                     Indiana Muslim Alliance Network

•                     Indiana's Poor People Campaign

•                     Indiana Young Democrats

•                     NAACP

•                     Marion County Black Elected Officials

•                     Marion County Democratic Party

•                     Moms Demand Action

•                     Stonewall Democrats

“To quote an African proverb, 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,'” State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis), Chair of the IBLC, said.

“We could write one million thank you notes and still never be able to show our gratitude for your solidarity. Your advocacy has been an inspiration that I know the caucus and myself will carry with us on the tough days. You have helped push legislation forward, held some legislation back, and encouraged the conversations with leadership about what to do next to avoid a repeat of February 18th.”

“When you talk about people who have shown up and people who are here today, it's been a diverse group,” State Rep. Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago), Vice Chair of the IBLC, said. 

“So I don't want anyone to make this out to be, 'Oh, it's just Black people who care about this.' No, this is something that we've seen a lot of diversity on in terms of attendance, in terms of action, in terms of reaching out. I really want to say thank you to everyone and point out that this is something that affects all of us.”

Speaker of the House Todd Huston (R-Fishers) joined the IBLC to provide an update on the progress being made on the IBLC's recommendations.

“I need to do a better job, I acknowledge that, of enforcing House rules and ensuring that every voice is heard and respected. I promise I will do a much better job in the future,” Huston said.

“I've spoken personally to Representative Shackleford, other members of the IBLC and other stakeholder groups about how we move forward. I appreciate the input that has been provided and we will continue to have those conversations. I believe that sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward. I really believe that at the end of the day we'll look at this process as an opportunity to take two steps forward.”

“We have been progressing on what the reprimands and implicit bias training will look like and putting together a committee to work on those items,” Shackleford said. “The Speaker has been an ally. We can't reveal everything at the moment, but once we're ready, we will certainly let the public know where we have landed.” 

While today marks the end of the IBLC's Call to Action Days, the IBLC will continue to connect and encourage Hoosier advocacy efforts through their weekly Advocacy Works series. Each week, the IBLC highlights active legislation they believe deserve community support or opposition and provide guidance on how to best communicate with state legislators on said legislation. 

“Our advocates have filled out close to a hundred legislator forms and that is only the beginning,” Shackleford said.

“Your voices have been heard. Keep talking. Keep writing,” State Rep. Renee Pack (D-Indianapolis), Treasurer of the IBLC, said. “Because every time you do that, that is one more Hoosier that's letting our senators and representatives know that we believe in respect for all.”

For more information on the Advocacy Works series, please contact iblc@iga.in.gov.

You can view a video of the IBLC press conference at:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1512340418972466&ref=watch_permalink

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