MS Legislative Black Caucus Calls for Karl Oliver’s Resignation

Imani Khayyam / Jackson Free Press

The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus seeks the resignation of Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona.

The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus has called for Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona, to resign from his post representing District 46, after he made a Facebook post on Saturday calling for the “LYNCHING” of those who brought down the Confederate monuments in New Orleans.

Yesterday, Oliver removed the post and issued an apology. House Speaker Philip Gunn condemned Oliver’s statements and stripped him of his vice-chairmanship.

Below is the full verbatim statement from the Legislative Black Caucus, published by Chairwoman Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, D-Gulfort, on Twitter this morning:

The MS Legislative Black Caucus is calling for the immediate resignation of State Representative Karl Oliver for his statement calling for the lynching of people responsible for the removal of Confederate statutes in New Orleans, LA.

“Members of the MS legislature already struggle to work across party, racial and gender lines. Rep. Oliver’s continued presence in the legislature would deter-and diminish any further progress among members,” says MS Black Caucus Chairperson, Sonya Williams-Barnes. “Rep. Oliver’s apology for using the word ‘lynching,’ does not mitigate the sentiment behind the statement and his presence will continue to be a sore spot on the work of the Mississippi legislature.”

The MS Legislative Black Caucus is boycotting the upcoming Southern Legislative Conference as a part of its ongoing protest against the Confederate symbols on the state flag.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to fight racism and to move our state forward. MS is losing millions of dollars in tourism and economic development because of our unwillingness as a state to move past our sordid racial history,” Williams-Barnes continued.

Rep. Oliver’s statement and the Confederate symbol on the state flag go hand in hand in sending the message that all are not welcome. Changing the flag is a direct action moving in the right direction as a collective body and it is the right thing to do. An apology is just mere protocol; it is not enough. If these comments are truly not the mindset of the body, change the flag and demand the resignation of Karl Oliver.