Several Black Mississippi state senators on Friday walked out en masse as their fellow legislatures banned the teaching of critical race theory in classrooms.
Local news station WLBT reports that the Black Mississippi lawmakers decided to walk out after decrying the bill as totally unnecessary given that there is no evidence that critical race theory is being taught in any Mississippi public schools.
Sen. John Horhn (D-MS) said that the intention of the bill wasn't merely to target critical race theory, but to put what he described as a "chilling effect" over teachers who give frank lessons about the history of racism and slavery in the United States.
"I think this bill is going to put a chilling effect on that journey," he said. "I think it’s going to slow us down on coming together, and I think it’s going to drive a wedge between us that doesn’t need to be driven."
Simmons led all of his Black colleagues out of the chamber as the vote for the bill came up. Without the Black Democrats present, the bill wound up passing by a margin of 32 to 2. The two "no" votes came from two white Democratic state senators who remained in the chamber.
Watch the video below.
Black members of Mississippi's senate walk out of the chamber before the final vote on a bill to ban teaching critical race theory in schools and universities. The vote passed.pic.twitter.com/hLUwAn6ekL— Kobee Vance (@Kobee Vance) 1642785945