FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana House Representative Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) is under fire after posting a meme on his personal Facebook page.
Rep. Lucas’ post is under scrutiny for being racist and racially insensitive, and now the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is calling for action.
The NAACP told WANE 15 they are offended and they expect a public apology. The organization drafted a resolution in hopes it leads to the resignation of Rep. Lucas.
“He has a history, there’s a pattern,’ said Sheila Curry-Campbell, Fort Wayne NAACP Chapter President. “I am a firm believer we must teach people how to treat us.”
The meme was posted last Monday and is no longer up, but was described as black children dancing and smiling with the caption “we gon get free money”. By the end of last week Rep. Lucas was removed from two committees including the elections and public policy. The lawmaker also lost his position as the vice-chair of the standing committee on government reduction. But the NAACP says that is not enough.
“We are looking for a public apology, this is something that we take very seriously,” said Curry-Campbell. “I believe an apology is something that we deserve. The Facebook post was very uncalled for, he had a choice, and being an elective official we hold him at a higher standard.”
Democratic officials across the state were vocal about the situation.
Indiana House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) sent this statement to WANE 15:
“Many Hoosiers are understandably worried about the safety of themselves and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, none more so than black Hoosiers, who despite comprising of only 9.8% of Indiana’s population, make up roughly 19% of the deaths,” said Leader GiaQuinta. “This is part of the reason that I was appalled to see Representative Jim Lucas, through his racially insensitive Facebook post, imply that black Hoosiers are happily sitting around, waiting for their stimulus checks.
“Representative Lucas’ behavior is unbecoming of his elected office. Since this is not the first time that Representative Lucas has made racially insensitive comments, I expect Speaker Huston to take immediate disciplinary action so that Representative Lucas’ conduct is not viewed as acceptable in this body. A lack of response will be seen as approval of Lucas’ behavior.”
Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) stated “Rep. Lucas deliberately chose racist imagery designed to instigate and agitate.” She added “As a black woman in Indiana, I am all too aware of the continued fight against racism in our state and in our nation. Still, I had hoped that at least elected leaders representing Hoosiers of all backgrounds would join me in the fight to be part of the solution – not to fuel hate. If Rep. Lucas truly wants to critique the government’s response to the pandemic, he has many options for doing so that are not demeaning, racist and insulting.”
The Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) sent this statement:
“Rep. Jim Lucas’s shocking and racist post is unacceptable and reflects poorly on the entire General Assembly,” Sen. Lanane said. “Our hardworking friends and neighbors are losing their jobs through no fault of their own, and instead of offering reassurance and steady leadership, Rep. Lucas instead mocks these vulnerable Hoosiers. As an Indiana elected official, the representative should be fighting for Hoosiers’ ability to make ends meet and keep their families safe.
“On top of all of this, these are only the latest in a series of Lucas’s inexcusable acts of bigotry and insensitivity to women. Senate Democrats support the call by the Indiana Black Leadership Caucus for swift action by Republican leadership to condemn such reprehensible acts and prove such insensitivity does not come without consequences.”
WANE 15 reached out to Rep. Lucas to get his thoughts, but received no response.