Civil rights group calls on lawmaker to resign for tweet about Wyoming’s first Black sheriff | Nationwide Information

A regional civil rights group urges a Sheridan lawmaker to resign after saying “Where are the white women?” Memes related to the appointment of Wyoming’s first black sheriff.

The Pikes Peak Southern Christian Leadership Conference called on Republican MP Cyrus Western to step down immediately on his December social media post that contained a clip of the Mel Brooks satire “Blazing Saddles.”

“We are of the conviction and on this platform as a civil rights organization unreservedly that we are committed to the abolition of such discriminatory acts and behavior and that we are striving for your resignation as a state representative,” said the letter from April 8th. Although these behaviors have been previously tolerated, they are neither acceptable nor welcomed. As individuals and advocates of human dignity, let us refer to the words of Thomas Jefferson and point the way to our “inalienable human rights, that all human beings are created equal”. “

The letter was signed by Conference President Henry L. Allen, Vice President Jimmy Simmons, and Chief of Staff Nathaniel Granger Jr. Simmons, former President of the Casper NAACP, and delivered a copy of the letter to the Star Tribune on Monday.

Western said Monday he had no plans to step down.

“I will give the voters the last word,” he said. He is up for re-election next year.

Western tweeted the memes days after Albany County Sheriff Aaron Appelhans became the first black man to be awarded the title in Wyoming. In “Blazing Saddles,” the character Sheriff Bart, played by black actor Cleavon Little, makes the comment that Western shared to anger members of the Ku Klux Klan. Last year, streaming service HBO Max added a content warning to the 1974 film, stressing that the film’s racist language and stereotypes are intended to mock bigotry.

The civil rights group’s letter comes more than four months after Western shared the post, which it then deleted.

“Please accept our apologies for this late but urgent response to such a critical matter,” the letter begins.

Western apologized for the tweet in December and spoke to Appelhans.

“I would like to issue a revocation,” tweeted Western. “My remark about the new Albany Sheriff was stupid and inappropriate. … What I did was insensitive, and although I did not intend it, I realize that it was wrong. I hope he accepts my apology. “

He said Monday that he had nothing to add to his previous apology.

“I stand by it,” he said.

The Pikes Peak Southern Christian Leadership Conference affirmed Western’s apology: “Mr. Cyrus Western, we took into account the fact that you apologized to the newly appointed Albany County Sheriff (sic) Aaron Appelhans for your untimely and awkward tweet in December 2020 that you didn’t celebrate your position as Wyoming’s first black sheriff to him demoralize. As a state official, you know that this demoralization represented not only a personal attack on Aaron Appelhans, but also the privilege of being a white man in America and the associative implicit bias against people of color to the extent of the abuse of that privilege and representative in the form of a tweeted microaggression. “

Last summer, as protesters gathered across the country to respond to the police murder of George Floyd, protesters in Casper discussed the creation of a new anti-racism organization. (The city’s NAACP chapter no longer exists.)

Simmons said last month that there are currently 70 Casperites involved in a group at the Pikes Peak Southern Christian Leadership Conference, but that an official chapter has not yet formed, partly due to the pandemic.

Follow Senior Editor Brandon Foster on Twitter @ BFoster91

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