Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in honor of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, who were killed 50 years ago in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, AL:
“In presenting a Congressional Gold Medal today in memory of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, we mark a day long awaited. Thanks to the efforts of Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Congress is recognizing and honoring the lives of the four little girls brutally killed in the September 15, 1963, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. In doing so, we remember the tragic racism and violence that accompanied segregation and voter suppression before the Civil Rights Movement.
“The bomb that tore a hole through the church, cutting short four precious lives and wounding twenty-two others, was planted in an act of hatred and intolerance, but through this act of violence many Americans who had closed their eyes to injustice could do so no longer. Those who once thought their own lives, liberty, and equality were secure came to realize that none could truly enjoy these gifts unless every American could. As we recognize these four girls today, let us resolve to continue the work of making our nation more just, more equal and a safer place for all of our children by standing to protect the Civil Rights victories that Addie Mae, Cynthia, Carole, and Denise never lived to experience.”