ICYMI: Political Opportunist Richard Irvin Called Out for Flip-Flopping from Black Lives Matter to “All Lives Matter”
In a scathing new op-ed, chair of the Illinois House Legislative Black Caucus Rep. Kam Buckner slammed Richard Irvin for doing a complete 180 to embrace the “apathetically hateful retort” of “All Lives Matter” from his previous support of Black Lives Matter.
Irvin began repeatedly using “All Lives Matter” in his campaign launch video, released on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Irvin also said “All Lives Matter” in a campaign ad, followed by another where he referred to “thugs,” another racially-charged phrase.
“This is upsetting to hear from anyone, let alone a Black man and a candidate for governor,” Buckner wrote. “It is patently unacceptable, cold, and timid to try to stand on both sides of one of the most consequential issues of our time.”
After telling a local news outlet just last year, “I support Black Lives Matter strongly and passionately,” Irvin has conveniently changed his tune to match megadonor Ken Griffin’s bogus tough-on-crime platform.
For the two months since he’s entered the race, Irvin has dodged or flip-flopped on big questions from COVID to abortion to his history of voting in Democratic primaries.
Irvin’s been called out by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and more for being funded by Griffin’s gun manufacturing money and hiding his record of profiting from keeping violent criminals out of jail.
Read key excerpts from the editorial below:
Chicago Defender: IL Rep, Kam Buckner says Republican Gubernatorial Candidate’s “All Lives Matter” Campaign Opportunistic
I remember where I was when Travyon Martin’s murderer was acquitted in 2013.
And more importantly, how I felt about an unarmed Black teenager shot in cold blood, with no one held accountable. The despair was painful but eerily familiar. It was a scene that had played out too many times before in American history. But in my mind I knew, this time would be different; it had to be.
Black Lives Matter is both an urgent statement of fact and a demand: affirming the humanity of Black people and our immeasurable contributions to society while working towards a world where Black lives are no longer systematically deemed expendable.
It’s why I was so disturbed to see Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin announce his candidacy for Governor, on Martin Luther King Jr. day nonetheless, and immediately spew the apathetically hateful retort we have heard far too often in response to the movement: All Lives Matter.
What if, when your house was on fire, the fire department responded, “but all houses matter”?
What if, when your town suffers a tragedy, the response is, “but all towns matter”?
Black Lives Matter is not exclusionary. It is an acknowledgment that is necessary because historically, our lives have not mattered to those who would rather we didn’t exist as anything more than a commodity. This is upsetting to hear from anyone, let alone a Black man and a candidate for governor.
It is patently unacceptable, cold, and timid to try to stand on both sides of one of the most consequential issues of our time. But movements built on and sustained by the unforgiving fight for equality, won’t be cheapened even, by those who try to make us doubt our own realities. All Lives Matter is a statement that ignores those realities and serves to negate the story of where we have been, in hopes of impeding the road to where we are going.
When a politician who once said he “strongly and passionately” supported the Black Lives Matter movement finds himself claiming All Lives Matter, ask why.
When a candidate for governor tries to raise money on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with that same message, challenge him.
When a local leader demonizes Black people for standing up for their humanity and peacefully protesting, remember. Remember how loud and painful these dog whistles sound and remember the people they are trying to court.
It should not be hard to say, unequivocally, that Black Lives Matter. This moment in history demands we elect leaders with conviction and tenacity. Those who are unwilling and unable to see our fight through to the finish line, and to see our humanity are not deserving of our vote.