PRESS RELEASES / September 6, 2019

Progress Now Arizona Responds to Racist Remarks from Representative Jay Lawrence

For Immediate Release

Contact: Emily Kirkland,

Phoenix– State Representative Jay Lawrence said at a forum last week that Black and Hispanic communities are “better armed than the police officers who are supposed to be controlling them,” and then added that “Black and brown communities, Black communities in particular, have gangs.” 

Emily Kirkland, Executive Director of Progress Now Arizona, responded: “Representative Lawrence’s comments are bigoted and unacceptable. From the implication that communities of color need to be controlled by police, to the generalization that all Black communities have gangs, Lawrence’s racist remarks should disqualify him from any position of responsibility, let alone serving as a state representative. Someone with Lawrence’s obvious biases will be unable to make fair decisions on issues that affect all Arizonans. 

Lawrence’s remarks come a few weeks after Sylvia Allen bemoaned the ‘browning’ of America, and about a year after David Stringer complained that there ‘aren’t enough white kids to go around.’ The Arizona Republican Party is overdue to condemn the racism within its ranks and stand up for all Arizonans by preventing people like Jay Lawrence from serving in public office.”