On Wednesday, Wisconsin Senate Republicans passed a resolution in Honor of Black History Month that failed to mention Milwaukee native Colin Kaepernick.
The resolution which named celebrated African-Americans like Satchel Paige, the first African-American pitcher to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Condoleezza Rice, the first African-American secretary of state, was drafted by the state legislature’s Black Caucus and initially included a mention of Kaepernick, the polarizing athlete and activist. Once it was presented to Republican leaders, Kaepernick’s name was removed because, according to The New York Times, the former quarterback for the San Fransisco 49ers is thought to be “too controversial.”
Both Republicans and Democrats voted unanimously on the resolution that stripped Kaepernick’s name from the record, but Democrats re-introduced the original resolution for another vote. It was ultimately shut down by the GOP-controlled Senate.
Democrats accused the state Republicans, who are all white, of telling African-Americans what to do and whom to honor during a month dedicated to honoring Black history and achievements. “There’s never been a selective editing of a resolution that I can remember,” Sen. Jon Erpenbach, a white Democrat, told NBC News. “We’re telling African-Americans again, what you can do and can’t do.”
Democratic Senator Lena Taylor added that Republicans will be on the wrong side of history when it comes to omitting Kaepernick’s name. “Often, doing the right thing is controversial,” Taylor said in response to Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke’s reasoning for the name removal. “Doing what is right takes courage. Colin Kaepernick showed courage.”
Taylor also asked each Senate Republican to go on record explaining their cowardly decision to remove the athlete’s name.
“I want their voice to be heard … since you are making a historical moment that lets the nation see you take us back to a time where African-Americans had to ask permission to speak, to read, to think,” Taylor said from the house floor. “I want each and every one to answer whether or not they have the courage to tell Wisconsin why they believe a Wisconsin native does not deserve the right to stand up for the injustices that exist.”
No GOP members answered Taylor’s call.