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Republican Rep. Justin Hicks.

Black Republican legislator on equity movement: “They look for words to divide us”

Missouri Republican Representative Justin Hicks, who is Black, continues to speak out after a Black Democrat legislator asked him to state his ethnicity.

Hicks, who represents St. Charles County, became the target of Democrats in a legislative session when the Missouri House passed House Bill 6 and sent it to the Senate for consideration. The bill says that the departments cannot spend funds “for staffing, vendors, consultants or programs associated with ‘Diversity, Equity, Inclusion’ or ‘Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging.’” The bill also blocks funds for initiatives that go toward initiatives that promote preferential treatment based on identity, “the concept that disparities are tied to oppression,” “collective guilty ideologies” and “intersectional or divisive identity activism.”

During debate on the bill, was grilled over his opposition to state funds going toward DEI programs by Democratic Rep. Marlene Terry. “You said you were OK with the DEI [measure], and that there is an equal playing field. Did you say that?” she asked Hicks.

What it does is say that we are not in the business in state government of giving preferential treatment to certain groups and individuals,” Hicks replied. “We treat everyone the same, because we are all people under the law.”

Terry then asked how the freshman representative ethnically identified. “I identify as an American,” he replied, which led to applause from some lawmakers.

Hicks has since been a guest on numerous news outlets explaining his view on how DEI can harm the people its meant to help and why it divides the country.

“These programs by themselves promote giving preferential treatment to certain groups, when we’re all equal under the law,” Hicks told Fox.

The left is out of touch with reality on the ground and what’s happening across the nation, he added.

“We’ve moved beyond issues of race here in America. I think they look for words to divide us instead of unite us.”

Hicks was then asked how the nation can return to merit rather than skin color in terms of public policy.

“I think we have to start with taking race out of the conversation altogether. When you do that, you’re focusing on people’s merits and character.

“Race has never been an issue in my life. I’ve never thought of people on the level of race. I treat people like people.”

Hicks repeated to other outlets what he had told his Democrat opponent who attacked him.

“I didn’t come from a privileged background,” Hicks said during the confrontation, adding that his father died when he was 12 and his low-income mom was left to support and raise him and his two brothers.

“I had to work my butt off to get where I am today,” he told Terry.


–Alan Goforth | MV


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