Will GOP leaders ‘allow’ Black legislators to honor Wisconsin native Stacey Abrams?

    Stacey Abrams speaks at TED Women 2018. On stage with large logo forTED talks
    Stacey Abrams speaks at TED Women 2018. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Rep. LaKeshia Myers (D-Milwaukee) is seeking to have the Wisconsin Legislature honor Wisconsin native Stacey Abrams. A resolution Myers is currently circulating recognizes Abrams’ work as a politician in the Georgia House, as a lawyer and as a voting rights activist. 

    It is that later role — continuing the work that was begun with the Voting Rights Act in 1965, that Myers details in her memo to all legislators seeking cosponsors for the resolution.

    Myers’ staffer Kenya Parker says 23 legislators have signed on so far, and the deadline is the end of this week. Every cosponsor is a Democrat. Parker says the resolution is supported by Spelman College National Alumnae Association (Abrams’ alma mater).

    Rep. LaKeshia Myers
    Rep. LaKeshia Myers

    “We will keep pushing for this legislation to be heard for the remainder of session until it is selected to be called on the floor,” she adds.

    Both houses of the state Legislature passed resolutions this month honoring Rush Limbaugh after spending all of Black History Month refusing to consider a resolution from the Legislative Black Caucus honoring Black Wisconsinites.

    Republican leaders refused to schedule the Black History Month resolution as written, telling Black legislators that it was primarily because the resolution honored eight Black Wisconsinites who were killed or permanently wounded by police and community activists and organizations. 

    Also named in the resolution were baseball legend Hank Aaron, Vice President Kamala Harris and Abrams.

    “During the presidential election, and subsequent election of two Democratic U.S. senators from Georgia, Abrams played a pivotal role in organizing voters and pushing back against voter suppression,” the resolution states. 

    According to a State Journal article from last June, prior to a talk Abrams gave to an audience as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival, she said when she was born in 1973, her mother was working on her master’s degree in library science at the UW-Madison. A few years after finishing school, the family moved to Mississippi before relocating to Georgia. 

    “So, I remember the library. I remember the cold. I have a fond memory of cheese curds,” Abrams said. “That’s about it. I vaguely remember the house we lived in, just a little bit.”

    Melanie Conklin
    Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.