Racist name tag? Rep. Sandra Hollins ‘shocked’ by anti-polygamy presentation during caucus meeting

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) –  Was it an activist attempting to make a point about polygamy or an act of overt racism? That was the question on Utah’s Capitol Hill after a bizarre and poorly received presentation Thursday during a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus.

Angela Kelley of the Sound Choices Coalition was voicing the group’s opposition to a bill that would lessen the crime of polygamy when she showed some name tags and turned her attention to Utah’s only African-American legislator, Rep. Sandra Hollins (D – Salt Lake City).

“She started talking about slavery and she wrote on one of the name tags she had the word “Slave” and made some comment about me being black and slaves,” Rep. Hollins said. “She should know better. We are living in a time that this is inappropriate.”

Rep. Hollins says she was so shocked and hurt that she left the meeting.

On Friday, the House Democratic Caucus issued a statement reading in part: “Mrs. Kelley should apologize to Rep. Hollins. Her behavior was racist and absolutely inappropriate.”  

“It is very hurtful because one of the things I have been pushing for, that’s going to be on the ballot this year is to take slavery out of our Constitution,” Rep. Hollins said. “To me, it’s offensive when someone tries to use my ancestors to build their political career or to try to build up their organization, they don’t have that right.”

In a Twitter post, Mrs. Kelly appeared to dig in, posting a 19th Century quote from author Harriet Beecher Stowe and the line “Polygamy = slavery is not my idea. But I am happy to take up the cause.”

ABC4 News had an on-camera interview with Mrs. Kelley scheduled Friday afternoon. She did not show up.

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