After Racist Mailing, Boise Lawmaker Fighting Bigotry

Apr 17, 2012

The African-American lawmaker in Idaho who received a flier from the Ku Klux Klan says she’s using the incident as an opportunity to talk about bigotry in the state. State representative Cherie Buckner-Webb and four other Idaho lawmakers have reported getting the mailings at home.  Cherie Buckner-Webb grew up in Boise and remembers when someone set fire to a cross on her family’s lawn in the 1960s.

She says, a lot has changed since then, but the KKK pamphlet she received is a reminder that racism hasn’t been extinguished.

“It’s still out there alive and well," Buckner-Webb says. "Prejudice, bigotry, it’s here. I think we started patting ourselves on the back and saying ‘See, we’ve overcome, we’ve got it together.’ Well, obviously, we’re selective.”

Buckner-Webb -- who’s now running for state Senate -- is Idaho’s only African-American legislator. She says she wants the mailing to be a jumping off point to talk about attitudes toward gays and lesbians, refugees, and Latinos in Idaho.

Five Idaho lawmakers have reported receiving the mailing, postmarked Great Falls, MT. Human rights activists says they think a white supremacist in the area has sent literature to Montana and Wyoming lawmakers as well.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies 18 active hate groups in Idaho.