FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2019
Lindsay Kee, ACLU-TN communications director, (615) 320-7142
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The ACLU of Tennessee today sent a letter to House Speaker Glen Casada urging him to condemn racist text messages sent by his chief of staff, Cade Cothren.
“In failing to condemn racism and the racist messages sent by his chief of staff, House Speaker Glen Casada has demonstrated a deeply troubling absence of leadership,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee. “As we have seen time and again this session, the House speaker wields enormous power. His actions shape the laws that pass or fail in our state, impacting the daily lives of all Tennesseans. His words and his actions matter, especially in today’s racially-polarized climate. He should seize this moment to hold his office to a higher standard and reject racism in Tennessee.”
The letter condemns Casada’s lack of action on the matter to date, stating, “You had an opportunity in this moment to denounce racism in Tennessee and the use of racist language by people who are part of Tennessee government. You had the opportunity to attempt to stem the damage and pain comments like this inflict on people of color in our state, particularly when such messages are broadcast by people in some of the highest positions of power in our state government. You had the opportunity to use your platform to say that you will attempt to represent all Tennesseans. You failed to do so.”
It further calls on Casada “to recognize the impact that your defense of racism has on our state, on the people who live here, and on the national perception of Tennessee” and “to do the right thing in this moment by taking action to denounce racism and condemn these racist comments.”
The letter can be found at: https://www.aclu-tn.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ACLU-TN-Letter-Re-Cothren-Texts.pdf