‘You don’t look like a legislator’: Security stops black, female lawmaker going to work

By 
Cincinnati Enquirer

COLUMBUS – State Rep. Emilia Sykes was walking to work in the Ohio Statehouse in 2016 with a fellow lawmaker when she was stopped by security. Officers needed to search her bag, she was told.

Sykes is serving her third year as a Democratic state representative from Akron. She is also a 32-year-old black woman. Her colleague, who was not searched, is a 65-year-old white man who has served in the Legislature for many years.

Sykes said she questioned why her bag needed to be searched when that wasn't protocol. Lawmakers only need a badge to gain access to the Statehouse or the nearby Riffe Center, which houses many lawmakers' offices.

Her colleague told the trooper Sykes was a member of the Ohio House.

She was told: "You don't look like a legislator." The trooper then clarified: "You look too young."

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