LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — State Sen. Gerald Boudreaux lashed out at the Lafayette Parish Library Board of Control today over a recent decision to reject a grant aimed a facilitating a discussion over voting rights.
In a statement, Boudreaux called the board’s decision “incomprehensible.”
The controversy broke last week after the board voted 5-2 to reject a Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities grant that would have facilitated a program called “Who Gets to Vote?” The board turned the grant down after former Library Director Teresa Elberson “disregarded the Board’s clear directive requiring her to secure two facilitators from opposing political sides for the program.”
The board’s decision reportedly led to Elberson deciding to retire from her position earlier this week.
Sen. Boudreaux did not mince words when responding to the board’s decision.
“The question was raised as to the other side being represented and part of the discussion,” stated Boudreaux. “The college professors who worked with the professional library staff indicated in the approved proposal that the entire spectrum would be covered in the discussions/presentations. Allow me to answer the question, the other side falls in the category of ‘Jim Crow Laws’ and the ‘KKK.’ I agree we do need to discuss the other side, as history has proven that if we ignore the past we will be doomed to relive those dark days.”
Boudreaux’s entire statement is below:
First, I want to commend Mrs. Teresa Elberson on an outstanding professional career spanning over thirty-eight (38) years. Her service in the Lafayette Parish Library System has been duly noted and greatly appreciated.
I also want to applaud and commend Dr. Joseph Savoie and the entire faculty at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Their timely assistance in coordinating the transfer of the “Conversation on the history of voting in the United States” from the Lafayette Public Library where the board has chosen politics over our people, culture and history. I witnessed the work of Dr. Jean Kreamer, Mrs. Sonya Branch, Ms. Sona Dombourian, Andrew Duhon and so many others as they elevated our library system to one of the most respected by all in the State of Louisiana.
The actions, comments and decision by the Library Board of Control in rejecting a community grant to have a discussion of past voting rights issue is incomprehensible. The question was raised as to the other side being represented and part of the discussion. The college professors who worked with the professional library staff indicated in the approved proposal that the entire spectrum would be covered in the discussions/presentations. Allow me to answer the question, the other side falls in the category of “Jim Crow Laws” and the “KKK”. I agree we do need to discuss the other side, as history has proven that if we ignore the past we will be doomed to relive those dark days. Many members of the community and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette have answered the call to negate the intentions of a few political appointments. Remember, we are talking about a $2,700.00 grant to have a conversation about past Voter Suppression in the United States. The November 2020 elections are over and have been validated by Congress and the Supreme Court. We must move on as a community and a country!
The negative comments and actions are destructive and this rhetoric contributes to chaos, confusion and events that divide instead of uniting our community and country. It serves to incite actions that are not consistent with the theme of Unity. Individuals appointed to boards and commissions must make decisions based on facts and input from the citizens that are impacted by the programs.State Sen. Gerald Boudreaux