NAACP calls for Lucas to resign

The Indiana State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People submitted a resolution to Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana General Assembly on Tuesday calling for the resignation and censure of District 69 State Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour.

“When so many Hoosiers are fighting, literally, for their very lives, the time is now that divisive messages of hate, disrespect and disdain will not be tolerated by those who have taken an oath of office,” said Barbara Bolling-Williams, president of the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP. “We are better than this. We call upon (Holcomb) to send forth that message.”

The request came eight days after Lucas was accused of making a racist social media post on his personal Facebook page that generated controversy in the district and statewide. Lucas is accused of posting on his Facebook page a meme of black children dancing with wording that read: “We gon’ get free money!”

“I acknowledge that what I did was stupid. It was thoughtless and a mistake,” Lucas said in a phone call Tuesday. “I have learned from it, and it will never happen again, but I’m not going to apologize for being a racist because I’m not a racist.”

Lucas said he hadn’t talked to anyone from the NAACP on the issue as of Tuesday afternoon.

“I think they are very serious and disturbing accusations that are completely false,” Lucas said of the conference demand. “What I found troubling about this is that nobody has reached out to me personally to discuss this issue. The accusations of racism are so serious. It can destroy people’s reputations, livelihoods and careers. These are issues that should not be discussed through press releases and media stories. I would appreciate the opportunity to explain my side of the situation.”

The NAACP resolution states Lucas has a pattern of posts throughout the years that have contained racial or sexist undertones and says Lucas is held to a higher standard and expectations by Indiana residents.

“Our representatives must be held accountable for their actions, and Rep. Lucas has shown his constituents that implicit biases render Rep. Lucas unable or bring into question his ability to work on behalf of all of his constituents regardless of gender, disability, age, sex, gender identity, race, religion, color, creed, national origin and sexual orientation, all protected classes that would be contained in a comprehensive hate crime law, something Indiana does not have,” the conference letter stated.

Lucas was removed from the House Interim Study Committee on Elections and the Interim Study Committee on Public Policy on Friday by Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers. Lucas also was demoted from vice chair to a regular member of the Standing Select Committee on Government Reduction.

“The post is unacceptable, and I don’t condone it,” Huston, R-Fishers, told The Indianapolis Star.

Lucas deactivated his Facebook page Friday after his page became “a sounding board for hate.”

Lucas said he will be reaching out to State Rep. Robin Shackleford, an Indianapolis Democrat and chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, who called for a response by the House last week before committee assignments were changed.

“I am going to see if (Shackleford) is willing to meet one on one — the way it should be done, not through press releases or media bits,” Lucas said. “Hopefully, we can come to an understanding. The NAACP, I would be more than happy to meet with their representatives, as well, if they care to reach out to me personally to have that discussion.”