Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a resolution honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, a common practice for a person of his position. What was uncommon, however—and what’s rankled a lot of feathers since—is that Kasich’s resolution declared MLK Day to be March 17, 2011. That’s not only months away, it’s also St. Patrick’s Day.
Governor Kasich has since signed a new resolution with the correct date (Jan. 17, 2011) and removed the incorrect one from his administration’s Website. Still, many are concerned by the apparently lax attitude Kasich had when it came to what is actually a very serious holiday for many Americans, especially Black ones.
Exacerbating the mishap is Kasich’s attitude toward diversity since ousting Democrat Ted Strickland in November. Out of the governor’s 22 cabinet picks, just five have been women, and none have been people of color.
Yesterday, Senator Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) sent a letter to Kasich criticizing him for this whitewashing. “I do not doubt that your appointees are well qualified or that many of them have served the public with distinction in the past,” she wrote. “But it is difficult to believe that a cabinet that does not reflect the composition of our state’s population can adequately serve it.”
Kasich responded not in the manner of a man embarrassed that he didn’t know the dates of both MLK Day and St. Patrick’s Day, but as a man irritated anyone would dare question his cabinet picks.
“I don't look at things from the standpoint of any of these sort of metrics that people tend to focus on, race or age or any of those things,” Kasich said last week. ”It's not the way I look at those things. I want the best possible team I can get, and hopefully we will be in a position that we are fully diverse as we go forward.”
Following the governor’s statement, the Cleveland chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization once headed by MLK Jr. himself, uninvited Kasich to its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Gala.
Photo by: Birmingham News /Landov