Voting to Create an Independent Commission on the January 6 Assault on the U.S. Capitol
May 21, 2021
This week I spoke from the House floor and then voted for the National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex, which will provide a critical, independent review of the events of that terrible day and seek to identify those responsible. I also presided over an historic hearing on the 100th anniversary of the destruction of the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, -- often referred to as “Black Wall Street”-- and heard dramatic testimony from survivors who are now 107, 106 and 100 years old. I also introduced the School Bus Safety Act, requiring seat belts and other modern safety equipment on the buses that carry our children; joined my colleagues in introducing a measure winding down the inhumane sport of greyhound racing; announced that the Memphis Housing Authority will receive additional housing vouchers to end homelessness; spoke from the House floor and voted for a measure to combat increasing anti-Asian American prejudice and violence related to the pandemic; and offered a health tip. I continue to monitor the response to the cracked span of the Hernando de Soto Bridge and the diversion of traffic causing headaches across our region. I was pleased to see Acting Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollock in Memphis on Thursday to assess the situation. Keep reading and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what I’m doing as it happens.
On Wednesday, the House debated and voted on the Independent Commission on the January 6 Assault on the U.S. Capitol. I was in the House Gallery when the mob broke in. The violent attack left me in fear for my life. What happened that day, and the reason why, must be investigated and understood so that we are not doomed to repeat it. I was pleased to see 35 Republicans join us but, given the nature of the attack on our Constitution, it’s a mystery why all of them would not stand up for finding the truth. See my statement, including my floor speech, here.
Also Wednesday, as Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, I presided over a hearing on the Centenary of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre that killed 300 and destroyed the affluent 35-block Greenwood community, known as “Black Wall Street.” Survivor and hearing witness Viola Fletcher said in her testimony: “I’m a survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Two weeks ago, I celebrated my 107th birthday. Today, I’m in Washington, D.C., for the first time in my life. I’m seeking justice and asking my country to acknowledge what happened in Tulsa in 1921.” She received a standing ovation. What happened in Tulsa was a microcosm of what African Americans experienced throughout the Jim Crow era. See the testimony of Viola Fletcher here, and my opening remarks at this remarkable hearing and my questions to other witnesses here.
On Thursday, I joined my colleague, Albio Sires of New Jersey, in reintroducing the School Bus Safety Act, which will require school buses to have three-point seatbelts and other modern safety features. See my release here.
On Wednesday, I joined my Congressional colleagues in introducing the Greyhound Protection Act, effectively winding down the inhumane sport of dog racing and protecting these graceful runners. As a longtime member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, I believe it’s time to stop greyhound racing.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that the Memphis Housing Authority will receive 190 housing vouchers to provide shelter and keep families off the streets. See my release here.
On Tuesday, I spoke on the House floor in favor of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, a measure intended to address the shocking increase in anti-Asian American violence related to false narratives about the pandemic and improve reporting and enforcement of hate crimes. See my release here.
The expanded Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) operation at the Pipkin Building on the old Mid-South Fairgrounds wound up vaccination efforts this week, but vaccinations are still being administered there and at other convenient locations. The Pipkin Building, like all public vaccination sites, offers vaccines on a first-come, first-served basis with little to no wait. They are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
To find more information about the vaccination sites and locations or to request a vaccination appointment for a homebound individual, go to https://covid19.memphistn.gov/ or call (901) 222-SHOT (7468). I urge my constituents and friends to get the shot as soon as possible.
“I still see it, in my mind, 100 years later…I have survived to tell this story. I believe I am here to share it with you. Hopefully, you will listen to us while we are still here.” – 106-year-old witness Lessie Benningfield Randle, testifying Wednesday at a hearing on the Centenary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
As always, I remain.