ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The leaders of the Maryland Democratic Party and the state’s Republican Party are supporting calls in a bipartisan version for the resignation of Del. Mary Ann Lisanti after she used a racial slur “Nigger Nation” for African-Americans at an after-hours gathering while smoking cigars in Annapolis.
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who chairs the state’s Democratic Party, and Republican Party Chairman Dirk Haire, both called on Del. Mary Ann Lisanti to resign ASASP on Wednesday morning through an email and social media outlets circulated widely.
Lisanti, a Democrat, apologized Tuesday for making the comment last month in reference to Prince George’s County, which is majority black.
According to urban dictionary, “Nigger Nation is the wishful prediction that if all the Niggers moved back to Africa, it would form a Nigger Nation in which Niggers can live with Niggers in total peace, Thus leaving the rest of the population free of Niggers!
This is just a hypothetical idea that will never happen, but is a logical solution.”
Cummings says African-Americans comprise about a third of voters in Lisanti’s district, and they deserve to be represented by a person who is considerate of their views. Haire says Lisanti’s comment “is beneath the office of Delegate.”
Del. Mary Ann Lisanti told the Post earlier this month that she didn’t recall using the slur, but was “sure everyone has used it.”
Lisanti’s apology stems from allegations she used the slur at a January gathering of Democrat lawmakers, The Post reports:
“Lisanti allegedly made the remark at Annapolis Cigar in late January in front of a small, racially mixed group of lawmakers. Those in attendance at some point during the evening included Del. Jay Walker (D-Prince George’s), who represents the district Lisanti was allegedly referring to; House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore City); Dels. Theresa E. Reilly (R-Harford), Warren E. Miller (R-Howard) and Carl L. Anderton Jr. (R-Wicomico); and state Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery).”
“It’s not just Lisanti, but the good negro culture that has black leaders silent,” one social media user said on Facebook. Already the Governor and other leaders who have facilitated shenanigans for years have not been forceful enough. Many problems in Maryland emanate from state or Federal institutions in which major crimes are covered up willfully due to white supremacy in our institutions. A brutally hostile Democratic Party machine over the years has facilitated an entrenched system of legalized racism which continues today. It’s time to change this culture of misusing the court system for legal lynching and the legislature to cover up criminal legislators. Younger generation of leaders currently in various leadership roles must be in the forefront more than ever to demand answers and help change the status quo.
Maryland and County residents are asked to call the following offices;
- Delegate Darryl Barnes – Chair of Legislative Black Caucus Tel: (410) 841-3557, (301) 858-3557, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3557 (toll free) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delegate Michael A Jackson, Chair of the Prince George’s County Delegation Phone: 410-841-3103 | 301-858-3103, email to: Michael.Jackson@house.state.md.us,
- House Speaker Michael Busch Tel: 410-841-3800 | 301-858-3800 email to: email@example.com.
Maryland residents are encouraged to call other elected officials in the state to add the pressure. This is a watershed moment in Maryland history. Racism has no place in our institutions.
Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti must resign for calling our county the Nigger District.
A petition to force her out is currently in circulation.
We reprint the report by Washington Post below:
A groundswell of Maryland elected officials, including the state’s powerful black legislative caucus, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Prince George’s County executive Angela Alsobrooks (D), called Wednesday for the resignation of Del. Mary Ann Lisanti, the Harford County Democrat who used the n-word in a conversation with colleagues to describe a Prince George’s County legislative district.
“We know she is one of our colleagues, we know she is a Democrat, but party has nothing to do with the hatred and bigotry that comes out of someone’s mouth,” said Del. Darryl Barnes (D), who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and represents part of Prince George’s, one of the wealthiest and most highly educated majority African American jurisdictions in the nation.
“There is no place in the House of Delegates for that type of language to be used,” Barnes said. “It is unacceptable, it is offensive and it is very hurtful.”
Democratic Party chair Maya Rockeymore Cummings also called for Lisanti to step down. She noted in a statement that Lisanti had apologized for using the racial slur at an after-hours gathering with a few other lawmakers — black and white, Democrat and Republican — in a cigar bar in Annapolis in late January.
But Rockeymore Cummings said “further insight provided by some of [Lisanti’s] African American constituents about the kind of political positions and actions that she has taken that are consistent with the sentiment reflected in her poor choice of words underscores that an apology and promise to undergo diversity training are not enough.”
The statement did not elaborate.
Hogan said any public official who “engages in this reprehensible conduct should do the right thing and step down . . .
“The language of racism and hate has no place in our public discourse,” the governor said in a statement.
The Maryland American Civil Liberties Union, the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Maryland Republican Party also called for Lisanti to step down.
Lisanti, 51, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. Her office door was closed and locked. During the morning legislative session, she did not make any public comments, and she left the chamber as soon as the session ended.
Since the incident became public Monday, Democratic lawmakers say, it has generated outrage and hurt among Maryland’s African American population, which makes up a considerable swath of the Democratic electorate in the state.
None of the lawmakers who witnessed Lisanti’s comment made a formal complaint to House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) or publicly criticized Lisanti for using the racial slur. But members of the Black Caucus heard about what happened and urged that group’s leaders to take action.
On Monday night, the caucus executive committee asked Lisanti to meet with them and discuss the incident behind closed doors.
After The Washington Post reported that the meeting was to take place, Busch issued a statement expressing disappointment in Lisanti’s conduct and urging her to apologize and “face the consequences of her behavior.”
Lisanti apologized to the caucus executive committee but said she did not recall making the remark. Asked by The Post in early February whether she has ever used the slur, she said, “I’m sure I have . . . I’m sure everyone has used it. I’ve used the f-word. I used the Lord’s name in vain.”
On Tuesday, Lisanti apologized to the House Democratic Caucus and in a public statement, saying: “I am sickened that a word that is not in my vocabulary came out of my mouth. It does not represent my belief system, my life’s work or what is my heart.”
Busch stripped her of her chairmanship of a subcommittee, and she agreed to undergo sensitivity training. The incident is the latest race-related embarrassment for Democratic politicians, who were already reeling from revelations in Virginia last month that both Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Attorney General Mark Herring (D) decades ago wore blackface.
Del. Charles E. Sydnor III (D-Baltimore County), who sits on the executive committee of the 57-member Black Caucus, said Tuesday that many of Lisanti’s colleagues are struggling to accept her apology.
“It’s a privilege to be down here representing the citizens of the state of Maryland,” he said. “When you characterize a segment of your community in that light, it really calls into question the decisions that you are likely to be making.”
Lisanti, a second-term lawmaker, is one of just a few elected Democrats in rural Harford County, where voters overwhelming chose Hogan for a second term in November over Democratic challenger Ben Jealous. Voters also backed losing Republican candidates for attorney general and U.S. Senate.
The county, which is northeast of Baltimore County, has a population of about 250,000, and is about 76 percent non-Hispanic white and 14 percent black, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Prince George’s, the state’s second-most populous jurisdiction with about 912,000 people, is about 65 percent black and 13 percent non-Hispanic white.
“African Americans comprise approximately a third of the voters in Lisanti’s district and they deserve to be represented by a person who is considerate of their views, a champion for their issues, respectful and appreciative of diverse people, and dedicated to cultivating an inclusive economy and democracy,” Rockeymoore Cummings said in the statement.