During a ceremony last week in Wisconsin, a teacher outright refused to accept a reward from Rep. Paul Ryan, saying he couldn’t do so “in good conscience” because of the GOP congressman’s politics.
Al Levie, a high school social studies teacher, was one of three recipients of a Martin Luther King Jr. humanitarian award during a celebration honoring the late civil rights leader. Ryan, who represents the district, attended the ceremony and presented congressional recognitions to each award winner.
According to a report from the Kenosha News:
After Ryan spoke, Levie criticized the congressman’s policies before being walked off the stage. Levie had earlier stated that he would like to see collective bargaining restored in Wisconsin, fair immigration reform and a fair tax system among other suggestions.
In a video of the ceremony, Ryan is seen preparing to hand the award to Levie, who backs away and instead turns to speak to the audience. His words aren’t audible, but according to the video’s captions he said, “I can’t in good conscience accept this award, as a humanitarian, Paul Ryan stands for everything I don’t believe in.”
“I would not accept the award from Paul Ryan because Paul Ryan is a lackey for the 1 percent,” Levie later says in the video.
“Paul Ryan had no business at a Martin Luther King event, it’s totally hypocritical. On the one hand he votes to slash health care, while on the other hand, King dedicated his life and he died for it — for people to have adequate healthcare, to have adequate jobs.”