Here are the remarks from the Rose Garden
THE PRESIDENT: (The bill is signed.) All right. It’s law. (Applause.)
(The President moves to the podium.)
Thank you. It’s a little unusual to do the bill signing, not say anything and then speak, but that’s how we set it up.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I just signed into law the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, making lynching — (applause) — a federal hate crime for the first time in American history.
I want to thank Vice President Harris who was a key co-sponsor of this bill when she was a United States senator. (Applause.)
And I also want to thank Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer and members of the Congress here today, especially Congressman Hoyer and Bobby Rush, Senator Dick Durbin and Cory Booker. (Applause.) I — I also want to thank Senator Tim Scott, who couldn’t be here today.
And the civil rights leaders gathered here today and, most of all, the family of Emmett Till and Ida B. Wells: Thank you for never giving up. Never, ever giving up. (Applause.)
Matter of fact, her [great]-granddaughter told me that her mother was here — when? —
MS. DUSTER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: — I mean, your [great]-grandmother was here — when? —
MS. DUSTER: It was in 1898.
THE PRESIDENT: In 1898, in order to make a case for the antilynching law. It was over 100 years ago, in 1900, when a North Carolina Representative named George Henry White — the son of a slave; the only Black lawmaker in Congress at the time — who first introduced legislation to make lynching a federal crime.
Hundreds — hundreds of similar bills have failed to pass.
Over the years, several federal hate crime laws were enacted, including one I signed last year to combat COVID-19 hate crimes. But no federal law — no federal law expressly prohibited lynching. None. Until today. (Applause.)
One of the leading chronicles of our history of lynching is Bryan Stevenson, who happens to be a Delawarean from my home state, who wanted very much to be here today but he could not.
He helped build the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama — America’s first site dedicated to understanding the legacy of lynching.
You know, his extensive research showed that between 1877 and 1950, more than 4,400 Black people were murdered by lynching, most in the South but some in the North as well. That’s a lot of folks, man, and a lot of silence for a long time.
Lynching was pure terror to enforce the lie that not everyone — not everyone belongs in America and not everyone is created equal; terror to systematically undermine hard — hard-fought civil rights; terror not just in the dark of the night
but in broad daylight.
Innocent men, women, and children hung by nooses from trees. Bodies burned and drowned and castrated.
Their crimes? Trying to vote. Trying to go to school. To try and own a business or preach the Gospel. False accusations of murder, arson, and robbery. Simply being Black.
Often the crowds of white families gathered to celebrate the spectacle, taking pictures of the bodies and mailing them as postcards.
Emmett Till was an only child. He grew up on the South Side of Chicago with his mother, Mamie, and grandparents and cousins.
In the summer of 1955, Emmett turned 14 years old, ready to start eighth grade in the fall. Before school started, he wanted to visit his cousins in Mississippi. So Emmett’s mom dropped him off at the train station in Chicago. Her own family fled the Delta decades earlier, so she told him — she told him the unwritten rules he had to follow. Quote, “Be very careful how you speak. Say ‘yes sir’ and ‘no ma’am’, and do not hesitate to be — to humble yourself if you have to get down on your knees”. End of quote.
That same speech, that same admonition — too many Black parents today still have to use that admonition. They have to tell their children when it comes to encounters with the law enforcement. You know, and so many other circumstances.
She kissed Emmett goodbye. It was the last time she saw her son alive.
Days after he arrived in Mississippi, Emmett’s mutilated body was found in a river, barbed wire tied around his neck and a 75-pound cotton gin fan attached to that wire as he was thrown into the river.
Emmett’s mother — his mother demanded that her son be sent home so that his funeral in Chicago could be an open casket.
Here’s what she said: “Let the people see what I’ve seen.” America and the world saw what she saw.
Emmett Till was born nearly 40 years ago after the first antilynching law was introduced. Although he was one of thousands who were lynched, his mother courage — his mother’s courage to show the world what was done to him energized the Civil Rights Movement.
Exactly 100 days later, Rosa Parks was arrested on the bus in Montgomery. Her statue sits in my office. She said, “I thought of Emmett Till and I couldn’t go back.” “I thought of Emmett Till and I couldn’t go back.”
Dr. King often preached about, quote, “the crying voices of little Emmett Till, screaming from the rushes of the Mississippi.”
To the Till family: We remain in awe of your courage to find purpose through your pain. To find purpose to through your pain. But the law is not just about the past, it’s about the present and our future as well.
From the bullets in the back of Ahmaud Arbery to countless other acts of violence — countless victims known and unknown — the same racial hatred that drove the mob to hang a noose brought that mob carrying torches out of the fields of Charlottesville just a few years go.
Racial hate isn’t an old problem; it’s a persistent problem. A persistent problem. And I know many of the civil rights leaders here know, and you heard me say it a hundred times: Hate never goes away; it only hides. It hides under the rocks. And given just a little bit of oxygen, it comes roaring back out, screaming. But what stops it is all of us, not a few. All of us have to stop it.
People like Ida B. Wells, one of the founders of the NAACP, established 100 years ago in response to racial terror across the country. A brilliant, gifted writer, she exposed the barbaric nature of lyn- — of lynching as a tool to intimidate and subjugate Black Americans.
And her words, her courage, her convictions — she was trying to prevent the murders of Emmett Till and Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others — over 4,400 others.
Ida B. — Ida B. Wells once said, quote, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon the wrongs.” “Turn the light of truth upon the wrongs.”
That’s what all of you have done, gathered in this Rose Garden, with this bill and so much more, including Ida B. Wells’s great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster, whom I’m honored to introduce to mark this historic day.
Michelle, welcome to the White House, and welcome to the podium. And as my mother would say: God love you, dear.
Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court
The Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Thursday, making her the 116th justice & the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. top court.
The final vote tally of 53-47 showed bipartisan support for Jackson, with three Republicans joining all Democrats to appoint the 51-year-old federal judge to a lifetime appointment on the high court.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made a poignant preamble speech before the Supreme Court vote. ‘This is a great moment for Judge Jackson, but it is also a great moment for America as we rise to more perfect union,’ he said.
Jackson is President Joe Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee. She will replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, who was confirmed to the bench in 1994.
With Vice President Kamala Harris presiding over the vote, the Senate confirmed Judge Terry H. Jackson to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri by a 55-44 vote. Kamala started to cry as she read out the results. It was a brief moment, but she then faced a hugely positive reaction from those who were present.
Jackson’s appointment is welcome as the SCOTUS has become substantially more conservative with 3 Trump nominees. Her addition will maintain the size of the court’s liberal wing, which is outnumbered 6-3 by the conservative bloc.
Just five women have served on the Supreme Court – S. Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan & Amy Coney Barrett. Only two Black men, Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, have ever been appointed to the bench. No Black women have previously sat on the high court.
“Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation,” Biden tweeted after the vote. “We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. Her appointment is an incredible milestone, and I was honored to share this moment with her.”
DOVE AND THE CROWN COALITION APPLAUD THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR PASSING THE CROWN ACT
Landmark Federal Bill H.R. 2116 Led by Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) Passes on Friday, March 18, 2022 AND the Massachusetts State House Passes the CROWN Act Unanimously on Thursday, March 17, 2022, to Protect Against Hair Discrimination In Workplaces and Schools
The Executive Office of. The President Extends their Official Support for The CROWN Act
The CROWN Coalition, a national alliance founded by Dove, National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty and Color Of Change, along with over 90 members of the CROWN Coalition praise the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the CROWN Act of 2022. Led by Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey’s 12th congressional district), along with 116 cosponsors, the Democratic-led House voted 235-189 to pass the CROWN Act.
Roll Call | Bill Number H.R. 2116 – March 18, 2022 (117th Congress 2nd Session)
235 – 189
*14 Republicans voted “yay” to passing the CROWN Act
This week, the Massachusetts State House also passed the CROWN Act by a unanimous vote on Thursday, March 17, 2022, and will now go to the State Senate for consideration. The bill sponsor, Malden State Rep. Steven Ultrino, believes this law is long overdue. “This message is to those people who have been discriminated against, whether in the workplace or in schools, that it’s not going to tolerated,” said Rep. Ultrino. | source: CBS News, Boston
The CROWN Act legislation (H.R. 2116) provides legal protection from hair discrimination based on the texture of natural hair or hairstyles such as braids, locs, twists, bantu knots and Afros. The bill would require that discrimination on this basis be treated as if it were race or national origin discrimination under Titles VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and certain other Federal civil rights laws. | source: WhiteHouse.Gov
Per an official statement released by the Executive Office of the President on March 15, 2022, “The President believes that no person should be denied the ability to obtain a job, succeed in school or the workplace, secure housing, or otherwise exercise their rights based on a hair texture or hair style. Over the course of our Nation’s history, society has used hair texture and hairstyle — along with race, national origin, and skin color— to discriminate against individuals. Pernicious forms of systemic racism persist when dress and grooming codes, for example, prohibit hair texture or hairstyle that is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin. Such discrimination has imposed significant economic costs, learning disruption, and denial of economic opportunities for people of color. Black women, for example, experience discrimination in hiring because of natural hair styles, and Black girls experience disproportionate rates of school discipline, sometimes for discriminatory hair violations.” | source: WhiteHouse.Gov
“Natural Black hair is often deemed ‘unprofessional’ simply because it does not conform to white beauty standards,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “Discrimination against Black hair is discrimination against Black people. I’m proud to have played a part to ensure that we end discrimination against people for how their hair grows out of their head.”
So…what’s next? The companion bill now heads to the Senate, where Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey has sponsored the chamber’s version of the bill. | source: Congress.Gov
“This has been a tremendous week for the CROWN ACT! First, a nod from the President and now the federal bill passes in the US House of Representatives,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever North America. “Dove believes Black women, men and children should have the freedom to wear their natural hair without the fear of job loss or education. On behalf of Dove and the Coalition, we applaud Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman and the U.S. House of Representatives for taking this important action again.”
“As a lifelong racial equity champion, I am beyond proud to be the one who developed the legislative strategy for the CROWN Act, and to lead this nationwide movement on behalf of the CROWN Coalition I co-created. I’m forever grateful for the many lawmakers who trusted me early on, including my good friends former Congressman Cedric Richmond and Senator Cory Booker, and championed this groundbreaking legislation.” – Adjoa B. Asamoah, Lead Strategist
“The National Urban League continues to be a strong supporter behind the mission of THE CROWN ACT, and we are committed to making an impact with the CROWN Coalition,” said Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League and one of the founding members of the CROWN Coalition. “Hair discrimination, whether in schools or in the workforce should simply not be allowed and we will continue to rally policymakers and our communities to end discriminatory practices that disproportionality affects our communities of color. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman has our support, now let’s work to get it passed in the Senate chamber.” – Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League (NUL) and one of the original founding members of the CROWN Coalition
- The inaugural CROWN Act was signed into law by Governor Newsom in California on July 3, 2019 and went into effect January 1, 2020.
- National CROWN Day (July 3) is a special annual holiday commemorating the inaugural signing of the first CROWN Act legislation in the United States in 2019 to “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.”
- In 2019, Dove and the CROWN Coalition partnered with then State Senator Holly J. Mitchell of California to introduce The CROWN Act legislation to address the disparate impact of hair discrimination on Black people in workplaces and in schools. California Senate Bill 188 (SB 188) was introduced in January 2019 and signed into law on July 3, 2019, making California the first state to prohibit discrimination based on protective hairstyles and hair texture associated with race.
- The law has been passed in 14 states and 36 municipalities.
- Nineteen (19) additional states have introduced the legislation this year.
- With the passing of The CROWN Act in the House of Representatives, the federal bill now advances to the U.S. Senate for the second time.
“The CROWN Act underscores the critical importance of moving policy and culture towards a more inclusive America, and we applaud all our state and federal legislators who have pushed this legislation forward. We are honored that Dove and our CROWN Coalition partners entrusted us to create and lead this modern civil rights movement to end race-based hair discrimination and are immensely proud as we inch closer to this becoming the law of land,” said Kelli Richardson Lawson and Orlena Nwokah Blanchard, principal owners of JOY Collective, the firm responsible for originating the idea and legislative movement behind the CROWN Act.
As a founding member of The CROWN Coalition, Dove has championed The CROWN Act movement, created, and driven by a team of Black leaders working with a village of women who share a desire to end discrimination including Esi Eggleston Bracey and Erin Goldson of Dove, Los Angeles County Supervisor, Holly J. Mitchell, and JOY Collective agency leaders, Kelli Richardson Lawson, Orlena Nwokah Blanchard, and Adjoa B. Asamoah as lead legislative strategist. We are encouraging everyone to join The CROWN Act movement and help us #PASSTHECROWN to end race-based hair discrimination in the U.S. by signing the petition at www.thecrownact.com.
About The CROWN Coalition
The CROWN Coalition is a national alliance founded by Dove, National Urban League, Color Of Change and Western Center on Law & Poverty, to end race-based hair discrimination in America. The Coalition, now consisting of 85 supporting organizations, is the founder of the CROWN Act movement and was the official sponsor of the inaugural CROWN Act legislation in California in 2019. For a full list of CROWN Coalition members, visit www.theCROWNact.com.
The CROWN Coalition is proud to support anti-hair discrimination legislation to address unfair grooming policies that have a disparate impact on Black women, men and children and has drawn attention to cultural and racial discrimination taking place within workplaces and public schools. The CROWN Coalition members believe diversity and inclusion are key drivers of success across all industries and sectors.
SAVE THE DATE:
Sunday, July 3, 2022 is National CROWN Day!