After the year we've experienced, many Arizonans feel it is time to move forward. One Arizona lawmaker is now pushing for the state to recognize a National Day of Racial Healing.
House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding is proposing House Bill 2590, which would call for Arizonans to recognize the National Day of Racial Healing on the Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. It's part of a national movement that's already recognized in nearly two dozen states.
"You know, most people tend to talk about Dr. Martin Luther King and the great things that he did in our country and the civil rights movement and how that was able to move mountains. But one of the things that's often looked over is the actual progress that we still need to make as a country," Bolding said.
The proposal narrowly passed the House Government and Elections Committee last month in a vote of 7-6. Those opposed to the measure expressed concern that the proposal would do more harm than good.
"I realize that there is discrimination. There has been discrimination. I just feel a bill like this it's like having a sore on your arm and you pick at it," said Rep. John Fillmore in the committee meeting on Feb. 18.
While debate erupted over his proposal, Bolding said he is not letting the division discourage his efforts to get the measure passed.
"I think that what we need to know is that what happened in that committee is the exact reason why we need to be talking about racial healing and the fact that people just have divergent opinions, or they have a lack of understanding about each other," Bolding said.
Some may wonder how racial healing is possible if our state lawmakers can't agree on legislation, but Bolding believes it is up to the people of Arizona to lead the way.
"So, our citizens have always led, and have always been further ahead of state lawmakers, and I think this is another issue in which the citizens are going to have to lead, while some lawmakers have to get, you know, pulled along," said Bolding.
House Bill 2590 has since unanimously been approved by the House Rules Committee. Bolding believes if the bill makes it through the process and to the House floor then he will have enough support to get the measure passed.