Update: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam Says He's Not in Racist Yearbook Photo
Pressure builds for Northam to resign.
UPDATE: Feb. 2, 2019 at 4:29 p.m. ET
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement on Friday that he appeared in a "racist and offensive" photo, but on Saturday, Northam said it wasn't him in the picture.
"I take credit for recognizing that this was a horrific photo that was on my page, with my name, Ralph Northam, above," he said, in a press conference. "I looked at it. My first impression, actually, this couldn't be me."
"But there was so much hurt that I was feeling, people were calling. So I reached out and apologized to people for this very picture being on my page."
"And I have continued to discuss that as we have gone forward. And what has happened is that last night, I finally had a chance to sit down and look at the photograph in detail. It is definitely not me. I can tell by looking at it. I have had friends also look at it and tell me it's not me."
Northam said that he darkened his skin for a dance contest in San Antonio that same year to imitate Michael Jackson.
The legislative Black Caucus continues to demand Northam's resignation after his remarks Saturday.
"In light of his public admission and apology for his decision to appear in the photo, he has irrevocably lost the faith and trust of the people he was elected to serve," the caucus said in a statement. "Changing his public story today now casts further doubt on his ability to regain that trust."
ORIGINAL STORY: Virginia Legislative Black Caucus 'Demands' Governor Resign After Blackface, KKK Photo Surfaces
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus is calling on Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, to resign, as "it is clear that he can no longer effectively serve as governor." A photo released on Friday from Northam's senior medical school yearbook page shows a man wearing blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe.
"Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive," he said, in a statement.
"I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now."
He apologized and claimed, "This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today."
However, the Eastern Virginia Medical School graduate didn't indicate if he was the man in blackface or wearing the KKK robe.
The picture first began circulating after being posted to Twitter by a right-wing blog Big League Politics, and WTKR shared the page in the yearbook on which the photo appears.
Northam also released a video statement on Twitter:
My fellow Virginians, earlier today I released a statement apologizing for behavior in my past that falls far short of the standard you set for me when you elected me to be your governor. I believe you deserve to hear directly from me. pic.twitter.com/1rSw1oxfrX
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) February 2, 2019
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus had a late night meeting with Northam, and released the following statement:
"We just finished meeting with the governor. We fully appreciate all that he has contributed to our Commonwealth. But given what was revealed today, it is clear that he can no longer effectively serve as governor. It is time for him to resign, so that Virginia can begin the process of healing."
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Demands Governor Northam Resigns pic.twitter.com/MWqStgD8qV
— VLBC (@VaBlackCaucus) February 2, 2019
Northam continues to lose support from key Democrats, including members of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus and Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus "saddened" by the photo. They want him to resign.
Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government. The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 2, 2019
These images arouse centuries of anger, anguish, and racist violence and they've eroded all confidence in Gov. Northam's ability to lead. We should expect more from our elected officials. He should resign.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) February 2, 2019
Northam began his tenure as governor in January 2018, after defeating Republican nominee Ed Gillespie in the 2017 election. He served as the 40th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018.
Ana Alvarez, a substitute teacher, asked the student why he continues to live in the U.S., "if it's so bad here."
"I've got a message for all of the women and girls like mine who have to deal with garbage like this every day: I've got your back," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) gave her first annual address to the state on Tuesday focusing on infrastructure, education and bipartisanship to reach effective solutions. But a local TV station chose to focus more on Whitmer's curves in her dress. It's "a cheap, sexist and indefensible shot at a strong woman in leadership," said State Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes.
"It's unconstitutional to detain people just because of their language, accent, or color of their skin," says the ACLU.
Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez, American-born Latinas, are suing US Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officers for racial profiling.
They were detained at a gas station convenience store in Havre, Montana, last year, by an officer who asked the women where they were born after hearing them speak Spanish.
"Lynching is a dark, despicable part of our nation's history and I'm hopeful this measure will swiftly pass the House," Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted.
It's 2019 and lynching still hasn't been properly outlawed. A bill, introduced by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), was cleared on Thursday in the Senate to make lynching a federal crime. The measure will now go to the House. Harris, Booker and Scott are the only Black members of the Senate.
Harris tweeted on Thursday:
BREAKING: Our anti-lynching bill, which would make lynching a federal crime, just unanimously passed the Senate. Lynching is a dark, despicable part of our nation's history and I'm hopeful this measure will swiftly pass the House.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 14, 2019
It's outrageous that lynching still isn't considered a federal crime. Congress tried and failed near 200 times between 1882 to 1986. About to ask the Senate to unanimously pass our anti-lynching bill. Let's right this wrong.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 14, 2019
Congress has tried more than 200 times to pass an anti-lynching law, but has failed. The Senate passed a resolution in 2005, apologizing to lynching victims.
The bipartisan bill acknowledges the harms of lynching, which is a form of domestic terrorism, and the federal government's failure to stop it.
It defines the crime as "the willful act of murder by a collection of people assembled with the intention of committing an act of violence upon any person."
In December, the Senate also passed the bill. But it was days before the 115th Congress went out of business, and the measure never reached the House floor.
"It's not the first time we've come down to this body to try to right the wrongs of history," Booker said on the Senate floor.
"For too long we have failed, failed to ensure justice for the victims of history and failed to make clear in the United States of America, in this great country, lynching is and always has been not only a federal crime but a moral failure."
According to the NAACP, "From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States."
"Of the total, 3,446 of the victims were Black, accounting for approximately 72.7 percent; and 1,297 were white, which is 27.3 percent."
"These numbers seem large, but it is known that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded," the organization stated.
Family and friends said the apology was insulting, and that Timothy Caughman's death was their "life sentence."
James Jackson, 30, a white supremacist, killed Timothy Caughman, 66, a Black man with a sword. Jackson was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
His apology: "I just wanted to apologize to everyone who has been negatively affected by this horrible and unnecessary tragedy. If I could do it all over again, this never would have happened."
Caughman's friends dismissed the apology, as fake.
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Wisconsin GOP Lawmakers Call Kaepernick 'Controversial' and Remove His Name From Black History Resolution
"Beyond outrageous that we, as the Legislative Black Caucus, had to get the permission of our white colleagues to pass our Black History Month resolution," tweeted Rep. Shelia Stubbs.
Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick is so "controversial" to GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin that they refused to include his name in a resolution to honor prominent Black Americans during February. But for members of the Legislature's Black caucus, Kaepernick, who was born in Wisconsin, is anything but controversial.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was the first NFL player in 2016 to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Kaepernick, along with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and baseball legend Reggie Jackson, are some of the more than two-dozen names suggested by the Black caucus to include in the resolution.
Republicans refused to support a resolution naming Kaepernick "for obvious reasons," Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna said during a news conference on Tuesday. He added, "Colin Kaepernick is obviously a controversial figure."
Steineke and others in the GOP are following the lead of the head of their party, who has called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem "sons of bi***es."
Kaepernick is currently pursuing a grievance against the NFL. He claims that ever since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017, team owners and executives have colluded to keep him out of the league.
Wisconsin Republicans initially blocked the Black caucus' resolution. But then they amended it to delete Kaepernick's name on a 61-34 party-line vote. Democrats had to decide whether to go against their own resolution or accept it without Kaepernick. They wound up agreeing to remove his name, and the state Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday.
For the second year in a row, the Republicans, who are all white, in the Wisconsin Legislature objected to how Black lawmakers wanted to honor — Black History Month.
One of the Black lawmakers who authored the resolution, Democratic Rep. David Crowley of Milwaukee, called the incident "a textbook example of white privilege."
Wisconsin's population is 87.3 percent white, a much less diverse population than average.
Crowley also said that Kaepernick, who is a philanthropist, was included, in part, because he gave a $25,000 donation to a nonprofit for teens in Milwaukee called Urban Underground.
Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison) tweeted on Tuesday:
Beyond outrageous that we, as the Legislative Black Caucus, had to get the permission of our white colleagues to pass our Black History Month resolution. We still stand with @Kaepernick7 https://t.co/Yt4eczrO2F
— Shelia Stubbs (@RepStubbs) February 12, 2019
State Sen. Lena Taylor said on Wednesday, that she would offer an amendment to include Kaepernick to the resolution.
.@SenTaylor tells @CBS58 she will be request the Senate to amend the #BlackHistoryMonth resolution to include the name of Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7). The Assembly passed the resolution yesterday that took out any mention of Kaepernick. The Senate takes it up this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/q7lC8OS3RC
— Victor Jacobo (@victorjacobo_) February 13, 2019