Gateway declines local NAACP’s request to uninvite Steil from MLK event | Local News



Steil

The Racine Branch NAACP asked Gateway Technical College to uninvite U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil from Monday’s 38th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration after Steil voted against S.2747, the Freedom to Vote Act, and H.R.4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

Gateway indicated it will not be doing so.

No Republicans in the House voted for the bills Thursday, while no Democrats voted against them. The bills are now before the Senate, where they are not expected to pass.

Steil, a Janesville Republican, represents all of Racine and Kenosha counties. His office did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

In an emailed statement, Gateway spokesperson Lee Colony: “Representative Bryan Steil and Senator Tammy Baldwin reached out to Gateway about the event, and the college provides the opportunity for our federal offices to participate in our Dr. King program.”

In the same statement, Gateway President and CEO Bryan Albrecht said: “Gateway is committed to the vision established by Dr. King. Our celebration on Monday is intended to bring our community together to reflect on our individual responsibilities to respect the rights of all citizens.”

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CLICK HERE to read the NAACP’s request to have U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil uninvited from a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at Gateway Technical College

The bills

The Democratic-authored bills would put more federal oversight in place for states and localities that may want to make changes to certain voting laws. They were proposed in the wake of moves made in some parts of the country that would reduce the number of polling places in communities that are largely populated by people of color and also in response to proposals in states, including Wisconsin, that would disallow ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting.

Some conservatives have raised concerns that those practices could be prone to abuse, although there is no evidence of absentee voting having led to increased voter fraud.

Also included in the bills Steil voted against would be requirements that a reduction in the number of polling places must receive federal approval before a state or municipality could enact it, and require attempts to make voter I.D. laws more stringent than they currently are to receive federal approval. Another requirement would be for there to be federal pre-approval before a state adds a reason to remove names from voter rolls.

A 2016 Gallup poll found 80% of Americans think Voter I.D. requirements should remain.

On the House floor before Thursday’s votes, Steil explained why he was opposed to the bills.

“The Democrats are up to the same old tricks,” he said, arguing that the bills would “gut key voter integrity provisions … this bill guts voter ID laws … this bill restricts states’ ability to maintain their voter rolls, voter rolls that are essential, so we know who is eligible to vote.”

Regarding the Freedom to Vote Act, Steil argued it would end up “delaying the final results (of elections). Delaying the final results does not instill confidence in our elections.”

According to an analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal nonprofit based at New York University Law School, the Freedom to Vote Act “would create a national standard permitting no-excuse vote by mail for every eligible voter. States would be required to permit voters to apply for absentee ballots online and prohibited from imposing onerous requirements like requiring mail ballots to be notarized. Apart from returning ballots by mail, the bill would allow voters to return mail ballots in person to a polling place or to a drop box … Any mail ballot postmarked on Election Day that arrives within seven days would need to be counted, and ballots could not be discarded for minor errors, like failing to use an outer security envelope.”

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., has backed the proposals since they were introduced. In October 2021, she issued a statement saying “This summer we celebrated the 56th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That historic step forward for our country is reminder that Congress does indeed have a role and responsibility at the federal level to stop voter suppression efforts and remove barriers to the constitutionally protected right to vote. Voting rights are the foundation of our democracy and our democracy works best when all our voices can be heard. That is why I will keep working to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act so that we strengthen our democracy and put power in the hands of the people.”

NAACP

In a public statement issued Friday, the Racine Branch NAACP outlined its reasons for calling for Steil to be uninvited to Monday’s event. “When we think about Dr. King, we know that he believed the right to vote was essential to bringing about equality. Dr. King fought for landmark legislation, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and organized voter registration drives like the Freedom Summer to codify our right to have a say in the halls of power and laws that govern our lives.  We see now that backlash from Republican controlled legislature and the right-wing packed Supreme Court are working to undo his legacy and our freedom to vote.

“Unfortunately, Gateway has invited Representative Bryan Steil to this year’s MLK event.  Looking at Rep. Steil’s voting record on elections and civil rights, this is not the time or place for him to be, even virtually.  We would ask that Gateway rescind the invitation to Rep. Steil based on his No votes of the George Floyd Policing Act, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 and his recent No vote again on Thursday.  The widespread voter suppression we are seeing today is the new Jim Crow, shutting out minorities and voters of color from participating in our democratic process. African Americans must have the right to vote in 2022 and moving forward. 

“Rep. Steil’s No votes have shown us who he is, and his actions are not reflective of what Dr. King stood for.”

Watch now: Racine’s 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, in photos and video

Racine’s 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas

Racine's 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas



Watch Now: An excerpt of Corey Prince’s 2022 Martin Luther King speech in Racine

Racine’s 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas

Racine's 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas



Racine’s 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas

Racine's 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas

Children from Julian Thomas Community Elementary School stand with art they made to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in front of the statue of him at the corner of State and Marquette streets following a wreath-laying Friday.



Racine Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King statue

Racine Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King statue



Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive

Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive



Julian Thomas Elementary students have a dream

Julian Thomas Elementary students have a dream



Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK



Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK



Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK



Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK



Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK

At right is Racine Police Officer Andrew Simon



Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students arrive to honor MLK

At right is Racine Police Officer Andrew Simon



Julian Thomas Elementary honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary honor MLK



Chuck Tyler, who saw the “I Have A Dream” speech live and in-person, speaks

Chuck Tyler, who saw the

Not many people can say they witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C, but Chuck Tyler, Racine’s former Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services director, can. Click here to read about how that experience would affect his life’s course.



Chuck Tyler, who saw the “I Have A Dream” speech live and in-person, speaks

Chuck Tyler, who saw the

Not many people can say they witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C, but Chuck Tyler, Racine’s former Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services director, can.



Julian Thomas Elementary students honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students honor MLK



Color guard

Color guard



Racine Mayor Cory Mason speaks on MLK’s legacy

Racine Mayor Cory Mason speaks on MLK's legacy



Racine Mayor Cory Mason speaks on MLK’s legacy

Racine Mayor Cory Mason speaks on MLK's legacy

Racine Mayor Cory Mason speaks Friday in front of Racine’s statue of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.



Julian Thomas Elementary students honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students honor MLK



Julian Thomas Elementary students honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students honor MLK



Julian Thomas Elementary students honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students honor MLK



Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave speaks on the legacy of MLK

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave speaks on the legacy of MLK

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave speaks Friday in front of Racine’s statue of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.



Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave speaks on the legacy of MLK

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave speaks on the legacy of MLK



Julian Thomas Elementary students honor MLK

Julian Thomas Elementary students honor MLK



Corey Prince speaks on MLK’s Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved

Corey Prince speaks on MLK's Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved



Corey Prince speaks on MLK’s Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved

Corey Prince speaks on MLK's Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved



Color guard

Color guard



Color guard

Color guard



Color guard

Color guard



Color guard

Color guard



Corey Prince speaks on MLK’s Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved

Corey Prince speaks on MLK's Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved



Corey Prince speaks on MLK’s Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved

Corey Prince speaks on MLK's Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved



Corey Prince speaks on MLK’s Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved

Corey Prince speaks on MLK's Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved

The keynote speaker at Friday’s Martin Luther King wreath-laying was Corey Prince. At left is Chuck Tyler, and at right is Racine Mayor Cory Mason.



Corey Prince speaks on MLK’s Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved

Corey Prince speaks on MLK's Legacy, and his dreams yet unachieved



Kelly Scroggins-Powell of Racine Women for Racial Justice applauds Corey Prince

Kelly Scroggins-Powell of Racine Women for Racial Justice applauds Corey Prince



Alderman John Tate II

Alderman John Tate II



Listening to Chuck Tyler speak

Listening to Chuck Tyler speak



Racine’s 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony

Racine's 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony



Racine’s 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony

Racine's 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony



Racine’s 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas

Racine's 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas



Racine’s 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas

Racine's 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas



Racine’s 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas

Racine's 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony, with students from Julian Thomas



Mayor Cory Mason and Lisa Parham

Mayor Cory Mason and Lisa Parham



Lisa Parham, publisher of The Racine Mirror

Lisa Parham, publisher of The Racine Mirror



Racine Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King statue

Racine Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King statue



Watch now: Beginning of Racine’s 2022 MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony

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