CBC denounces Republicans and white supremacy as ‘Black people are under attack’

“We’ve been fighting extremist Republicans in the judiciary who would rather erase us,” said U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is continuing to ring the alarm on Capitol Hill over what they see as assaults on Black freedoms following a wave of judicial and state-level actions taken by conservatives and the Republican Party.

“Black people are under attack,” said CBC Chairman U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., during a “State of Race and Democracy in America” press conference last week.

UNITED STATES – MAY 9: Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, conducts a news conference following the CBC’s National Summit on Democracy & Race near Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Horsford’s forceful rebuke is in response to the Supreme Court’s decisions to overturn abortion rights last year and, most recently, outlawing affirmative action in the college admissions process earlier this summer. Additionally, Republican lawmakers across the country have attempted to implement what critics and some courts have concluded as discriminatory congressional maps in states.

Democrats are now pushing back against the banning of books by Black authors in public schools and curriculums designed to minimize or significantly alter Black history.

Congressman Horsford told reporters that the CBC “will not stand by quietly as it happens.”  

“We’ve been fighting to preserve our democracy for the people, fighting to protect voting rights…fighting to protect a woman’s right to choose,” said the Nevada lawmaker.

He added, “We’ve been fighting extremist Republicans in the judiciary who would rather erase us, who want to see us less free and with fewer fundamental rights.” 

Last week, under Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership, the Florida Board of Education put forth a controversial curriculum that would teach students that slavery benefited Black people

Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., who attended last Thursday’s CBC conference, slammed his home state’s new curriculum. “Republican leaders in our state apparently want us to teach children that slavery wasn’t that bad,” said Frost, who said their goal is to “condition this generation to white supremacy.” 

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 18: Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) speaks at a press conference on Gun Safety legislation outside the U.S. Capitol Building on May 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. Rep. Frost joined Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) for a bicameral news conference to call for further congressional action to curb gun violence. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

DeSantis, a Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, wants to “ban Black history books and gaslight us into believing that slavery was just a work skills program,” said Horsford. 

The congressional leader said the very notion is “so ridiculous and incendiary that it insults every sensible American right now.”

“Our democracy works best when the institutions we depend on – from our schools to the courts – are equitable,” added Horsford. “Our institutions can’t serve the people when lawmakers are beholden to interests that want to privatize our schools and inundate students with misinformation about history.”

In recent weeks, Republican members of Congress came under fire for making controversial statements related to race. The incidents signaled that CBC members, who introduced various legislation to address a range of issues from policing, voting rights and school diversity, will likely not find success in a Congress partially controlled by Republicans.

Among them is Republican Congressman Eli Crane of Arizona, condemned two weeks ago for referring to Black service members as “colored people,” as theGrio previously reported. Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama was also slammed for his refusal to agree that white nationalists are racists.  

In response to statements made by his conservative colleagues, Congressman Horsford told theGrio that some of them may need professional instruction as it relates to race.

BALTIMORE – MARCH 2: CBC chair Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., speaks during the Congressional Black Caucus news conference at the House Democrats 2023 Issues Conference in Baltimore, Md., on Thursday, March 2, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“In 2023, to have a member of Congress on the House floor refer to service members, veterans and their families in such a derogatory way, and to have a senator uphold white nationalists and not condemn them is why they need diversity training,” said Horsford.

He continued, “They’re proving every single day why diversity, equity and inclusion [are] needed, and I would encourage them to contact the Office of Diversity here at the U.S. Capitol.”  

The CBC chairman told reporters that he issued a list of “actions” he and other CBC members want to see carried out to ensure Black Americans are not harmed by policies enacted by conservatives.  

Horsford ended the press conference with a message to far-right Republicans and white nationalist and extremist groups like Proud Boys and Moms of Liberty. “Stop gaslighting us” and “saying we are racist simply because we are asking for an opportunity to succeed,” he urged.

“You are fighting to erase and censor our history – our truth,” said Horsford. He added, “We are here today to say we see what you are doing, and we will not let it stand.”

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