Hoyer, Lee, Clyburn, Beatty, Bass, and Butterfield Applaud House Passage of Legislation to Remove Hate

WASHINGTON, DC – This evening, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (SC-06), Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), and Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01) applauded the passage of H.R. 3005, legislation to remove the bust of former Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney from the U.S. Capitol building and replace it with a bust of Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall. The legislation would also remove from public display in the U.S. Capitol statues or busts that are symbols of slavery and segregation, including statues and busts of those who served voluntarily in the Confederate States of America.

“Today, the House took a stand against injustice and sent a message to the American people that symbols of slavery, segregation, and sedition are not welcome in the halls of Congress,” said Congressman Hoyer. “I am pleased to see our bill to remove hate pass in the House. Even though we cannot change our history, we can work to affirm the ideals that our country was built on: justice and equality for all. Symbols of slavery and segregation denigrate our Capitol and have no place here. Individuals who worked to enshrine or perpetuate the bondage of African Americans, or prevent them from achieving full and equal rights, are not worthy of being honored in our country.”

“I hope the Senate takes up our legislation without delay to remove the bust of former Chief Justice Roger Brook Taney and replace it with someone who lived up to America’s founding principles, Justice Thurgood Marshall,” continued Congressman Hoyer. “A strong civil rights champion, it is appropriate that we honor and learn from Justice Marshall’s tremendous contributions to our country. While we work to advance polices that address longstanding inequalities and injustices, we must also make sure our Capitol reflects the best of America and pays tribute to those who fought to make our Union more perfect.”

“Painful symbols of racism and white supremacy have no place in our society and certainly should not be enshrined in the U.S. Capitol,” said Congresswoman Lee. “It is past time for Congress to stop glorifying those who committed treason against the United States in a concerted effort to uphold slavery and systemic racism. I’m proud to join Leader Hoyer, Majority Whip Clyburn, Chairwoman Beatty along with Reps. Bass, Butterfield and Thompson in this effort to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol and continue working to dismantle bigotry and racism.”

“I often think of the Hall of Congress as America’s classroom, and, we ought to teach, and honor, in this hall that which makes our country great. We are not a racist country, however, too often, we have tolerated racism,” said Majority Whip James E. Clyburn.  “What we must do now is follow George Santayana’s admonition and learn the lessons of history so we aren’t doomed to repeat our past mistakes. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation to show the American people we are doing all we can to get beyond the principles of racism and inequality of our past. Congress has a responsibility to relegate these statues to the dustbin of our nation’s history.”

“Hate has no place in society, let alone the Halls of Congress, and I am proud that my House colleagues reaffirmed that fundamental principle today,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty. “Let’s celebrate the best and brightest—and I can’t think of a better person that embodies the very best of America than Justice Thurgood Marshall. In that spirit, I call on the Senate to quickly pass our bill and relegate Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney and people like him to the dustbin of history.” 

Added Chairwoman Beatty, “As Chair of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus, I am honored to lead the ‘Conscience of Congress’ as we continue our work to build a brighter tomorrow for all people, and that begins by addressing our country’s systemic barriers that have negatively impacted the lives and livelihoods of generations of Black Americans—because we can’t change the future if we can’t acknowledge the past first.”

“The people’s house can never truly be for the people if it is lined with tributes to those who sought to continue the enslavement of Black people in this country,” said Congresswoman Bass. “My ancestors built this building. Imagine how they would feel knowing that more than a hundred years after slavery was abolished in this country, we still payed homage to the very people that betrayed this country in order to keep my ancestors enslaved. We must confront our past when we ask who we should honor here. Should we honor traitors or should we honor patriots? I believe we should honor service -- not segregation and not sedition. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in passing this important piece of legislation.”

“A nation cannot rewrite its history, but we can and should be intentional of who we honor and what we celebrate.  The United States of America has a dark history of slavery, segregation and systemic racism, but our present should reflect our progress and not our shameful past,” said Congressman Butterfield.  "The dome of the U.S. Capitol is adorned with the Statue of Freedom for all to see, while the halls within still house statues honoring segregationists, proponents of slavery and white supremacists.  I am proud to join Congressman Steny Hoyer, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Majority Whip James Clyburn, CBC Chairwoman Joyce Beatty, Chairman Bennie Thompson and all of my colleagues who voted in favor of this legislation to dismantle these symbols of racism.  While our nation continues to heal the wounds of the past, we made a clear and unequivocal statement today that there is no room in the People’s House for those who have perpetuated hate and division in the United States of America.”

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