senate Resolution No.116

Senator Geiss offered the following resolution:

A resolution to censure Senator Dale Zorn of the Seventeenth Senate District.

Whereas, Senator Dale Zorn knowingly and willingly adorned a facemask with a Confederate flag pattern during the Senate session held on April 24, 2020. Further, Senator Zorn issued an apology which demonstrated a lack of appreciation for the seriousness of his actions and the deeply shameful history that flag represents; and

Whereas, The Confederate flag is symbol of immense hatred which seeks to celebrate the most disgraceful aspects of our nation's history. The flag was first used as a banner and emblem for those who fought to maintain a system where humans were owned by other humans a system of slavery. In the years after the Civil War, the flag was and continues to be used to intimidate, harass, and terrorize black people and their communities; and

Whereas, Proudly wearing a Confederate flag is a direct affront to the one in seven Michiganders who are of African descent. A symbol of white supremacy has no place in a legislative body that is constitutionally obligated to make laws that provide for the equal protection of people of all races; and

Whereas, Adorning a Confederate flag dishonors the memory of the brave Michiganders who fought and died to end slavery and who have continued to make sacrifices for civil rights in the century and a half since. Michiganders have given their lives and risked everything to defeat the system and the ideas that the Confederate flag represents. Wearing it on the floor of the Senate demonstrates a lack of proper respect for their memory; and

Whereas, Rule 1.301 of the Standing Rules of the Senate provides:

Each Senator shall conduct himself or herself to justify the confidence placed in him or her by the people and shall, by personal example and admonition to colleagues, maintain the integrity and responsibility of his or her office.

; and

Whereas, Rule 1.311 of the Standing Rules of the Senate provides, in part:

A Senator determined to have violated the provisions of the rules regulating ethics and conduct may be reprimanded, censured, or expelled.

; and

Whereas, Senator Zorn failed to meet the high standards of conduct expected of his office by the people of Michigan. His decision to wear a facemask adorned with a Confederate flag represents, whether intended or not, contempt for members and staff of this legislative body and the people we represent. Symbols of hatred which dishonor our history and are designed to terrorize black people have no place in the Senate; and

Whereas, This legislative body must send a clear message that hatred and white supremacy are unwelcome in this chamber and in our state. We cannot make progress or change by ignoring issues of race or by tolerating examples of hatred whether overt, covert, by microaggression, or by accident; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate, That Senator Dale Zorn of the Seventeenth Senate District is hereby censured; and be it further

Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to Senator Zorn.