(AL.com) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey's newest campaign ad defending a state law that protects Confederate monuments is a reminder to black residents "where Alabama stands when it comes to race relations," the Alabama NAACP said in a fiery response.
The organization's president, Bernard Simelton, said the NAACP was "shocked" at the campaign ad, and chastised the governor for not wanting to meet with them to discuss race relations.
"Just when we thought Alabama was beginning to turn the corner in race relations, we see our governor wanting to continue to remind African Americans and people of color where Alabama stands when it comes to race relations," Simelton said in an email statement to AL.com. "Not on her watch will Alabama move to be a more inclusive state."
Ivey's campaign, in a response, defended the ad that was released Tuesday and the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017, which Ivey signed into law about 11 months ago.
"Our ad highlights a law that was passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor to protect all of our historical monuments. We can't - and we shouldn't - change, erase, or tear down our history. We should learn from all of it," the campaign issued in a response.
Simelton said Ivey's office has ignored the NAACP's requests for meetings to discuss the formation of a commission or a panel to study race relations in Alabama.
"The request hit a brick wall," said Simelton. "We also asked her to make a public statement that KKK, Neo Nazi's, and other white supremacists groups are not welcomed in Alabama. It met the same brick wall."
Said Simelton: "The numerous issues that Ivey could have included in her ad, such as better education system, improved health care, reduction of crime, a fairer criminal justice system and she chose the one thing that divides Alabamians perhaps more than anything else ... the Confederate monuments that is a reminder of a very dark past."