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The Guardian - May 7, 2020

A Black lawmaker came to Michigan’s capitol with an escort of armed Black citizens on Wednesday, days after white protesters with guns staged a volatile protest inside the state house, comparing the Democratic governor’s public health orders to “tyranny”.

The state representative Sarah Anthony, 36, said she wanted to highlight what she saw as the failure of the Michigan capitol police to provide legislators with adequate security during the protest, which saw demonstrators with rifles standing in the legislative chamber above lawmakers.

“When traditional systems, whether it’s law enforcement or whatever, fail us, we also have the ability to take care of ourselves,” she told the Guardian. Anthony became the first African American woman elected to represent her district in Lansing, Michigan’s capital, in 2018.

One of Anthony’s constituents, a Black firefighter, organized Wednesday’s capitol escort. While early reports focused on three Black men with large rifles escorting Anthony, there were six participants, including two women, and some of them were armed with handguns, Lynn said. Five of the participants are Black and one is Hispanic. Michael Lynn Jr, a Lansing resident, said he was frustrated to see his legislator being violently intimidated in her workplace. He said the escort was the first time he had ever chosen to openly carry his AR-15 rifle.

Lynn said he did not want to see a Black woman who had been elevated to political office feeling threatened “because of the white supremacists in the yard” and wanted “to make sure that would never happen again”.

“Being a black and brown female Democrat in the capitol now is a dangerous job,” Lynn said. “This is an environment that Donald Trump has nurtured.”
Read full report at The Guardian