Congressional Black Caucus at Statuary Hall
This afternoon at the Capital Building in National Statuary Hall, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) honored the members of the CBC for their longstanding efforts on Capital Hill.
“The 42 members of the Congressional Black Caucus collectively are the conscience of the Congress. They demonstrate that America is best when our glorious diversity is in evidence in the halls of power,” said Pelosi.
She also lauded the fallen members of the CBC who recently passed including chairwomen Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Juanita Millender-McDonald and Congresswoman Julia Carson. Pelosi made reference to the release of a new edition of the book Black Americans in Congress, which is dedicated to the memory of the late Congressman Julian Dixon of California and celebrated the life of CBC co-founder Gus Hawkins
“At a time of economic upheaval and uncertainty when we are fighting to protect working and middle class Americans, Gus Hawkins’ record in Congress can serve as a guidebook to protecting the American Dream,” she said.
Pelosi’s comments were followed by Sen. Reid who mentioned that today the United States Senate finally passed the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Act. “This legislation honors the memory of an innocent 14 year old boy from Chicago, who was brutally beaten to death, for no good reason,” he said noting that Republicans blocked the bill for over a year. “The bill we passed today will give the Justice Department the tools necessary to finally investigate and prosecute fatal civil rights-era crimes still wanting for justice.”
Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation invoked a since of pride calling this a “Spiritual Moment” to stand in Statuary Hall, knowing that the country faces the preface of the first CBC member to potentially “walk through this chamber and become the first Black President of the United States of America.”
“Today we celebrate 137 years since the first Black person was elected to congress,” said Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick of Michigan, chairwoman of the congressional Black Caucus after the celebration in response to Rep. Meek’s statement. “We are standing on the shoulders from 137 years ago. We are honored, privileged and we must not take it for granted. We have much work to do and the dye is not cast until Nov. 4.”
Meanwhile, during Pelosi, Reid, Kilpatrick and Meeks speeches, Sen. McCain announced on television his intention to suspend the campaign and his desire to cancel the presidential debate scheduled for Friday evening with the intent that the presidential candidates work towards a solution for our country’s economic challenges. He encouraged Barack Obama to follow his lead.
Whether or not McCain took the lead in this effort is a matter of contention. According to a source at Fox News it was Obama who reached out to McCain early Wednesday