Alabama NAACP says Governor Kay Ivey should resign over blackface

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The NAACP says in a release that they believe Kay Ivey needs to do the right thing and resign as Governor.

"It's a black eye on the state of Alabama and the best thing that she can do at this point is to resign and let someone else, who hopefully does not have this kind of past, rise up to be the governor," explains Benard Simelton, President of Alabama NAACP.

The Alabama NAACP says they are disappointed to learn that Governor Kay Ivey wore blackface in the 1960s.

They say although Governor Ivey has apologized for her participation in such divisive and racist events, it still does not erase the fact that she participated in these activities that mocked and intimidated African Americans.

The NAACP asks voters to ask themselves "how can Governor Kay Ivey be a governor for all the people of Alabama especially those she mocked and intimidated?"

According to the NAACP, Ivey refused to meet with the NAACP to discuss race relations in Alabama two years ago.

Simelton says, "she has not taken steps to Expand Medicaid in Alabama, she gladly signed bills to protect one of the most racist American symbols, the confederate flag, and monuments.”

He says the organization heard back from her staff, but they said she didn't have time for a meeting and she did not think it was a priority.

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Governor Kay Ivey said that she has no plans to resign, according to Al.com.

Governor Kay Ivey issued a written statement that reads in full:

“I have now been made aware of a taped interview that my then-fiance, Ben LaRavia, and I gave to the Auburn student radio station back when I was SGA Vice President."

“Even after listening to the tape, I sincerely do not recall either the skit, which evidently occurred at a Baptist Student Union party or the interview itself, both which occurred 52-years ago. Even though Ben is the one on tape remembering the skit – and I still don’t recall ever dressing up in overalls or in blackface – I will not deny what is obvious."

“As such, I fully acknowledge – with genuine remorse – my participation in a skit like that back when I was a senior in college."

“While some may attempt to excuse this as acceptable behavior for a college student during the mid-1960s, that is not who I am today, and it is not what my Administration represents all these years later."

“I offer my heartfelt apologies for the pain and embarrassment this causes, and I will do all I can – going forward – to help show the nation that the Alabama of today is a far cry from the Alabama of the 1960s. We have come a long way, for sure, but we still have a long way to go.”

Ivey's office also released a statement from her Office of Minority Affairs Director, Nichelle Nix, in support of the governor.

"Governor Ivey, who I represent as a member of her cabinet, has never been anything but supportive of the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs, especially for our efforts to strengthen the educational and economic impact of Alabama's fourteen HBCUs," Nix said in the statement.

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Alabama GOP Chairman Terry Lathan issued a statement in support of Governor Ivey:

"The Alabama Republican Party appreciates and supports Governor Kay Ivey taking ownership of and responsibility for this 50 plus year old incident. While it occurred when she was a college student, Governor Ivey has stood up, admitted her mistake and offered a sincere apology though she has no recollection of the event. Her extraordinary record of public service shows her ability to work with all people regardless of race, religion or party affiliation. We stand with Governor Ivey uniting our state for a greater future.”

State Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison County, said Ivey gave a sincere apology.

"I think that it gives us all an opportunity to take a deep breath and be grateful at how far Alabama has come since the 1960s," Ball said in an email to WHNT.

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, said in a statement Ivey addressed the issue in a straightforward manner, which he appreciated.

"Accepting responsibility while apologizing and expressing remorse are important ways to move beyond our mistakes," Jones said. "However, as you look around today you still see marginalized communities and racial disparities in almost every facet of Alabama life and it is painfully clear that we have never fully reckoned with the issues of race that continue to divide us. In fact, they are often being ignored. We need to continue to confront our history, especially the darkest chapters, if we are going to learn from those mistakes and move forward together. Governor Ivey now has a unique opportunity to do more than any Alabama Governor in recent memory to correct the injustices that still exist in our society. I hope she will seize it.”

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