Local activists with two groups have announced their plan to mobilize for the next Lafayette Library Board meeting.
A release from Stand Black and the NAACP, says the groups are "deeply disturbed" by a decision by the board to reject a $2,700 Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities grant that would have funded a program about the history of voting rights.
"An article dated January 29, 2021, indicated a decision by members of the Library Board of Control to deny a Professor of African-American History from doing a grant-funded presentation regarding voting-rights suppression in the United States," the release states. "According to this article Members of the Library Board of Control called the speakers, “extremely far left-leaning” and further indicated that “we need to represent our constituents.” They further espoused the position that the conversation on voter right suppression did not provide “both sides” of the conversation."
To read the article, which was posted by our media partners at The Advocate, click here.
"In order to be crystal clear, there are not two sides to this discussion," the release states. "There has been a well-documented history of voter suppression of Black People in this country. Make no mistake that the “our constituents” that are being referred to are people that believe in continuing to marginalize minority communities."
“Louisiana has a repugnant history of manipulating the truth of racism and bigotry. It is time that we now move henceforth to tackle these issues head-on. We will not continue to sit silently while a small contingent of racists and bigots perpetuate conspiracy theories,” said Jamal Taylor Co-Founder of Stand Black and Louisiana NAACP Chair of the Education Committee.
The group says it will not be silent on this issue, especially during Black History Month.
"...we will not allow the history of John Lewis, and other activists, who got beaten crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge to have their legacy diminished in Lafayette, Louisiana," the release states.
The groups say they will be attending the February 15 meeting of the Library Board of Control meeting.
"We encourage all those able to stand on the right side of justice to attend. Voting rights are not an option; they are a Constitutional mandate that will not be manipulated in Lafayette," the release states.
We've reached out to the library for reaction or a response.