Wisconsin senators plan to vote Wednesday on a resolution honoring Black History Month that passed the Assembly after NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's name was removed from it amid Republican objections.
February is Black History Month. The Legislature's black caucus had proposed a resolution honoring a number of black leaders, including Kaepernick, but some Assembly lawmakers argued the Wisconsin-born NFL star is too controversial to be included in a list of influential black leaders.
There are no black Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, who is white, told reporters during a news conference Tuesday that Kaepernick was left off the list "for obvious reasons." He later added that Kaepernick was a controversial figure.
Wisconsin Republicans tried to bring their resolution excluding Kaepernick to the floor but fell short of the two-thirds majority they needed after all the chamber's Democrats voted against the move.
Republicans said they tried to honor black history and moved on to another bill. Rep. David Crowley, chairman of the Legislature's black caucus, walked out of the chamber. He told a reporter in the foyer that black people should be allowed to choose the leaders they want to honor and Kaepernick is "making history."
Republicans later added the black caucus' resolution to the agenda, then amended it to delete Kaepernick's name on a 61-34 party-line vote. That put Democrats in an awkward position -- deciding whether to oppose their own resolution or adopt it without Kaepernick.
After that vote, Crowley said many see Kaepernick as unpatriotic without truly knowing him. He said deleting Kaepernick's name is a "textbook example of white privilege" and that he shouldn't need to get permission from white lawmakers to put together a list of black leaders.
"I think that as a black community and many of the folks that I represent would like to at least honor the fact that Colin Kaepernick has stuck his neck out there, but he's put his dollars out there. He put his career on the line when it comes down to fighting for the civil rights of black people in the country," Crowley said.
The resolution goes to the state Senate. Republicans control that chamber as well. There isn't a black senator among them.
Let them know your outrage.