Lanane: Zay’s comments on racism reflect a disturbing societal trend

Lanane: Zay’s comments on racism reflect a disturbing societal trend

INDIANAPOLIS – Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) had the following comments in response to messages from State Senator Andy Zay (R-Huntington) detailing that racism does not exist.

“On all levels I reject the statements made by Senator Zay that racism does not exist. Racism is a very real problem that negatively affects many of our fellow Hoosiers. I hear from my constituents about how systemic and overt racism disrupts their everyday lives, and I believe their stories.

“Senator Zay’s statements seem to reflect a disturbing trend currently in society to downplay or discount the existence and impact of discrimination against minorities. If legislators are truly interested in creating an Indiana that is equal for everyone, we must be willing to listen to those who have faced discrimination and be open to making change.

“Ignoring the reality of racism only stifles progress and allows it to continue.

“The statements made by Senator Zay clearly show that members of the Indiana General Assembly need to pursue a better understanding of diversity. We cannot fully represent our constituents and pass policies to improve their quality of life if we aren’t honest about the barriers they face.

“I will be supporting legislation next session to require diversity training for all legislative staff and legislators as well as legislation to finally put a hate crimes law on the books in Indiana. I hope the leaders in the majority will also recognize the need for and support this legislation, but specifically I call on Senator Zay, should he still reside in office, to support both of these measures to prove that he acknowledges the harsh reality that racism still very much exists.

“Indiana is at its best when we are honest about our problems, and work together to make it a better state for all Hoosiers.”

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