Jackson: “We need empathy in the Statehouse”
INDIANAPOLIS — State Representative Carolyn B. Jackson (D-Hammond) today issued the following statement in response to several Black members being disrespected by Republican legislators as they commented on the discriminatory nature of House Bill 1367:
“What happened yesterday during session is not something we can just sweep under the rug,” Jackson said. “The booing and jeering from some legislators were not a rash reaction, but rather came from a deep rooted issue of disrespect for my colleagues.
“I am proud of my fellow Black legislators who continued to voice their concerns on the school disannexation. I felt compelled to speak as well, and being dressed in traditional African garb in honor of Black History Month, I refused to be intimidated into silence.
“We recognized discriminatory undertones in the proposed legislation, and we spoke of our own experiences and perspectives. That is all we can do; we cannot speak from somebody else’s perspective. I have only walked in my own shoes. Each legislator has only walked in their own shoes. So we have to listen to each other, because how else are we supposed to have true discussion on the affairs of our state?
“I have observed from my time here that groups of people are often not considered or heard when they are the ones affected by a bill. Be it Black people by school corporation disannexation or women by pregnancy accommodations.
“That needs to change. We need to start listening to each other and respecting other people’s perspectives. What is expected is common decency. We need empathy in the Statehouse, and our constituents need it more so.
“I stand by the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus’ call for unity, and will continue to hold others accountable as we work together for our state.”