CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the House of Representatives approved the Committee of Conference report on House Bill 1, sending the budget bill to Governor Sununu’s desk. Following the vote, Democratic Floor Leader Manny Espitia (D-Nashua) released the following statement:
“I would like to believe that we live in a society where we are all equal. But even the founding of this country says otherwise. One just has to look at the rates of incarnation, who is enrolled in health insurance, the wage gap, and any number of other indicators to see that we still have a long way to go to achieve equity in this country. For some people this may be an abstract ideological issue to debate and consider. For me, and others who look like me, suppressing conversations, trainings, and lessons focused on diversity, equity and inclusion have dangerous, real-world consequences. I want to make sure this country can become more equal. But to get there we need to be able to talk about these issues.”
Representative Linda Harriot-Gathright (D-Nashua) added, “This language robs young people of an inclusive and realistic education by targeting efforts to talk about systemic racism in schools. We need to be looking at how our systems promote racial inequity and working towards solutions. Systematic racism is still alive and well, but rather engage with conversations head on supporters of this language would rather erase the legacy of discrimination and lived experiences of millions of Americans.
Representative Latha Mangipudi (D-Nashua) added, “HB 2 divisive concept language takes attention away from what is true. This refusal of truth is insidious because it denies the reality we see with our own eyes and experience ourselves, living in denial of our past makes us doomed to repeat it in our future. We are where we are today because of the policy decisions we made in our past. HB2 makes willful ignorance a public policy, that is unconscionable. These regressive policies of exclusion are antithetical to all that America holds promise to be.
Representative Safiya Wazir (D-Concord) added, “I bring a special perspective to this issue, having been born in a country where basic freedoms were denied. In this place, an open exchange of ideas was not always possible. Instead of going forward, this legislation takes us backward, making us like the more vulnerable countries that suffer from human rights crises. We call ourselves the greatest country, and we should allow discussion and the fullness of learning to bring us forward. The language in House Bill 2 goes against the very core of education to limit the discussion of these concepts, not just how they affected people in the past, but taking a look at current events that are so relevant to the younger generation and our country.”
Representative Maria Perez (D-Milford) added, “I am an immigrant, and I am honored to serve in this body. But I will not forget where I came from. Language in House Bill 2 will try to erase my history, and the history of millions of other Americans just like me.”