Denver —On a day created to honor the man who spoke about not judging others by the color of their skin but rather by the content of their character, Rep. Perry Buck, R-Windsor, was denied the opportunity to introduce and sponsor her own resolution honoring the late Martin Luther King, Jr. because she is white.
Buck sponsored and introduced the resolution in the House of Representatives last year while Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins introduced it and sponsored it in the Senate.
However, this year, both women were told they would not be allowed to because they were not black, Buck said.
“This is not about you,” Buck said she was told by a member of the black caucus, whom she did not want to identify. “This is about our heritage.”
Buck questioned whether King would want to make this about race or unity.
“It’s just very, very sad that we can’t come together,” Buck said. “It’s sad that we can’t rise together over this angry hate.”
Marble was unable to be reached for comment and Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, who is the Chairwoman of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment. Complete Colorado will update if more information becomes available.
Saine continued to say she believes King would have been disappointed in today’s identity politics on both sides of the aisle.
“My colleagues, how can you redeem your marginalized voice by marginalizing ours?” Saine said. “Our march towards justice is not over when a colleague of ours gets barred from introducing a resolution on this floor because of the color of her skin. Our march towards justice is not over when a member of this body who represents Americans of all races, creeds and religions is told that Martin Luther King does not represent her heritage.”
Saine called on her colleagues in the future to honor King’s spirit and share a love and respect for each other.
“He sought to unite Americans not divide Americans,” Saine told Complete Colorado. “And these folks are trying to offer that cup of bitterness and hatred to our legislature. Perry was such the loving person she always is. She was just the nicest person on the floor and said the nicest comments and accepted their terms. To honor the spirit of Dr. King, somebody had to say something.”
Buck said at the end of the day, everybody bleeds the same color and she hopes this is a lesson for everyone as they move forward though the session to embrace the message of Dr. King rather than ignore it.
“I will continue honoring an incredible man,” Buck said. “He was just amazing. At the end of the day, I love all my colleagues as my bothers and sisters.”
Saine agreed, adding everyone is flawed and that this is just another lesson for everyone to learn from.
“I’m hoping this will just highlight the need to really follow in King’s footsteps, which really does mean equality for all,” Saine said.