ATHENS, Ala. - Governor Kay Ivey’s most recent campaign ad on the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act continues to draw criticism from civil rights groups. The ad focuses on standing up to those who want to get rid of historical monuments across the state. The law was passed at a time when cities across the country were considering removing or relocating confederate monuments.
The Alabama NAACP President is calling on the Governor to remove the ad and apologize. Benard Simelton says the NAACP will not tolerate this type of promotion from the Governor. He says he thought Alabama was moving to a better place when it came to race relations, but this ad makes him question that.
"We were shocked.. and we were devastated that Governor Ivey would run a campaign ad highlighted in the ad,” said Simelton.
The NAACP President says it’s clear who Ivey is trying to appeal to.
"She wants to say to people of color, to African-Americans that I don't need your vote. I don't want your vote. I have these other people that believe in the Confederacy, those are the people that I want to vote for me,” explained Simelton.
He believes there’s a reason Ivey included a civil rights monument, not covered by the Alabama Preservation Act in her ad.
"She tried to put that in there to try and lessen the negative effect that it would have by showing that she's protecting those type monuments as well. But those monuments do not spear hate,” said Simelton.
Simelton says his organization won’t endorse anyone. However, he encourages voters to observe this race carefully, and vote their values.
"This does not reflect freedom and equality and justice for all. It reflects justice and equality for a certain segment of the community. We hope that she issues a statement of apology, as well as take down the ad immediately,” explained Simelton.
WHNT reached out Governor Ivey’s campaign for a response to the NAACP’s comments. A campaign spokesperson did not address the NAACP’s request for Ivey to apologize or remove the ad. Instead, they sent us the same statement they sent us on Tuesday when we first reported about the ad.
It says, “"Our ad highlights a law that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor to protect all of our historical monuments. We can't - and we shouldn't - change, erase, or tear down history. We should learn from all of it."