COMMENDING DAVID RAY RITCHESON AND RECOGNIZING HIS EFFORTS IN PROMOTING FEDERAL LEGISLATION TO COMBAT HATE CRIMES -- (House of Representatives - July 23, 2007)
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, it is with celebration and recognition that I rise today to honor and pay tribute to David Ray Ritcheson, first 17, and, in the loss of his life, only 18, yet an American hero, a teenager who experienced harshness in his life, but yet out of his courage, tenacity and spirit we stand here on the floor of the House today.
I rise in strong support of H. Res. 535, which honors the short life, but big contributions of David Ray Ritcheson, a victim, as I said earlier, of a horrific hate crime, who became an exceptionally effective advocate for Federal hate crimes legislation.
Over the years I have been privileged to take the floor many times to speak on behalf of my constituents and those who live in the greater Houston-Harris County area. On those occasions my heart has filled with joy on the knowledge that so many people entrusted me with the honor of giving voice to their hopes and aspirations. But as I rise today, my heart is enormously heavy, for I have the sad duty of informing the House of the tragic death of David Ray Ritcheson, a Texas teenager, and as I've said earlier, experienced and was a victim of a horrible hate crime only at the age of 17, who went on to become an effective advocate for Federal hate crimes legislation.
To his parents, to his attorney Mr. Leon, for their spirit, his wonderful family, his brothers and sisters, all who showed the great love and tenacity and courage to stand by David, I call them the stand-by-David family.
This tragedy should serve as a wake-up call to the Nation of the need to redouble our efforts to prevent hate crimes by juveniles, which I believe is, in the long run, the best and most effective way of eliminating the scourge of hate-motivated crimes from our society.
I have long believed, and research confirms, that if a person does not acquire a proclivity to hate as a juvenile, he or she is not likely to be motivated to commit crimes out of hate as an adult. But once a child or juvenile has learned to hate, it is a short step to learning and liking to act out of hatred.
We will have, I hope soon, coming to this floor a bill named after David. Many in the community have asked that H.R. 1592, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, be likewise named after him. You wonder why. It is because of the outstanding courage that this young man has shown.
I remember meeting with him in the offices of his attorney, Carlos Leon, and his family members way back in 2006. He was in the midst of several of his surgeries that had to be implemented or had to be done in order to help cure him. Quiet, determined, smiling, generous in his time, we spoke about what he could do and how he could support legislation to turn things around. I believe that that courage exudes today on the floor of the House.
A year ago last April, the people of Harris County and those in and around my congressional district saw just how easy and how dangerous it is for young people to commit a crime of hate. In a case that drew national attention, 16-year-old David Ray Ritcheson, a Mexican American, was severely assaulted on April 23, 2006, by two youths while attending a party in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas. One of his teen attackers, a skinhead, yelled ethnic slurs and kicked a pipe in an inappropriate place, severely damaging his internal organs and leaving him in the hospital for 3 months and 8 days, almost all of it in critical care.
For the supposed crime of allegedly kissing a white girl, this Hispanic young man was punched unconscious, kicked in the head, suffered 17 cigarette burns sadistically inflicted that still scar his body. His assailants poured bleach on his face and body and then assaulted him with a pipe taken from a patio umbrella. He was left lying unconscious and unattended in the back yard of a house for more than 8 hours. He has endured more than 30 operations to restore his appearance and regain the normal use of his bodily functions.
Might I say to you that he was the cause and the inspiration behind the passage of H.R. 1592. And I just want to share with my colleagues this young man's picture, along with his attorney. He was a young man who came here with a business suit on because he meant business. We honor him today with a resolution that acknowledges his life.
In addition, I will soon be introducing additional legislation intended to fill a big gap in current hate crimes prevention. And we must do more to assist the victims of hate crimes and their families recover from their physical, emotional and psychological wounds.
My legislation will authorize programs to provide psychological and emotional support services and appropriate economic assistance to the victims of hate crimes and their families. The legislation will focus on three main areas: counseling, prevention, and economic support.
Let me just say, in closing, that I indicated that it is with a heavy heart that I stand on the floor today. It is certainly with great celebration that I acknowledge to the world and to America, the youth of America, the name of David Ray Ritcheson, someone who, in essence, sacrificed his life so that America might be better, sacrificed his life so that those of us who want to be able to preach love, opportunity and quality maybe, sadly, will have a message of joy out of his living, and that is that you can move to move hearts and minds, and that we can provide America with a better moral compass and legal system to prevent hate crimes in America.
* [Begin Insert]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Res. 535, which honors the short life but big contributions of David Ray Ritcheson, a victim of a horrific hate crime who became an exceptionally effective advocate for Federal hate crimes legislation.
Over the years I have been privileged to take the floor many times to speak on behalf of my constituents in the Eighteenth Congressional district of Texas. On those occasions my heart was filled with joy in the knowledge that so many people entrusted me with the honor of giving voice to their hopes and aspirations.
But as I rise today, my heart is heavy. I have the sad duty of informing the House of the tragic death of David Ray Ritcheson, a Texas teenager and victim of a horrible hate crime, who went on to become an effective advocate for Federal hate crimes legislation.
Mr. Speaker, this tragedy should serve as a wakeup call to the Nation of the need to redouble our efforts to prevent hate crimes by juveniles, which I believe is in the long run the best and most effective way of eliminating the scourge of hate motivated crimes from our society.
I have long believed, and research confirms, that if a person does not acquire a proclivity to hate as a juvenile, he or she is not likely to be motivated to commit crimes out of hate as an adult. But once a child or juvenile has learned to hate, it is a short step to learning and liking to act out that hatred.
A year ago last April, the people of Harris County, Texas, and in my congressional district, saw just how easy and how dangerous it is for young people to commit a crime out of hate.
In a case that drew national attention, 16-year-old David Ray Ritcheson, a Mexican-American, was severely assaulted on April 23, 2006, by two youths while attending a party in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas. One of his teenage attackers, a skinhead, yelled ethnic slurs and kicked a pipe up his rectum, severely damaging his internal organs and leaving him in the hospital for 3 months and 8 days--almost all of it in critical care. For the supposed crime of allegedly kissing a white girl, this Hispanic young man was punched unconscious, kicked in the head, suffered 17 cigarette burns sadistically inflicted that still scar his body. His assailants poured bleach on his face and body, and then assaulted with a pipe taken from a patio umbrella. He was left lying unconscious and unattended in the back yard of a house for more than 8 hours. He has endured more than 30 operations to restore his appearance and regain the normal use of his bodily functions.
Mr. Speaker, no one deserves to be tortured and victimized like David Ray Ritcheson was simply because he is of a different nationality, or race, or religion, or ethnic group, or sexual orientation or preference. It is for that reason that I introduced the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, H.R. 254, earlier this year, key provisions of which were incorporated into H.R. 1592, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007. For example, my bill increased the penalties to 10 years in prison for any person whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person. Also, H.R. 1592 incorporated another key component of my hate crimes prevention bill: the establishment of a grants program administered by the Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice to award grants, in accordance with such regulations as the Attorney General may prescribe, to State, local, or tribal programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles.
I will soon be introducing additional legislation intended to fill a big gap in the current hate crimes prevention regime. We must and can do more to assist the victims of hate crimes and their families recover from their physical, emotional, and psychological wounds.
My legislation will authorize programs to provide psychological, emotional support services and appropriate economic assistance to the victims of hate crimes and their families. The legislation will focus on three main areas: counseling; prevention; and economic support.
Hate Crime victims lose their jobs at least in part because of the impact of hate crime violence and lack of financial and economic support during recovery. By giving hate crime victims economic and financial support, Congress makes it more likely that employees who are victims of hate crimes could stay at work while they deal with the violence or promptly return to work if they have to take temporary leave. Therefore hate crime victims must be provided access to: (1) Healthcare support including counseling and therapy to prevent in the future severe depression, violent outbreaks, suicide; (2) construction and personnel cost for shelters and hate crime support centers; (3) direct services providers; (4) healthcare insurance for counseling and therapy; (5) hotline services; and (6) short- and long-term individual counseling and support groups for hate crime victims and their families.
Since prevention is always better than cure, my legislation also seeks to prevent violent hate crime attacks before it happens. The legislation will provide funding for outreach and educational programs to raise awareness against racist and discriminatory beliefs.
Specifically, it will lead to:
(1) Development community responses and public education campaigns working with elementary, middle and secondary school to raise awareness of racist crimes as unacceptable behavior.
(2) Provide educational programs working with teenagers and young adults in college and university campuses.
(3) Adoption of hate crime awareness programs in the workplace.
When he testified in support of H.R. 1592, David Ray Ritcheson challenged this committee to take a big step toward making hate a thing of history. Hear the words this young man, wise and courageous beyond his years, spoke to the Judiciary Committee:
It has been a blessing to know that the most terrible day of my life may help put another human face on the campaign to enact a much needed law such as the ``Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007''. I can assure you, from this day forward I will do what ever I can to help make our great county, the United States of America, a hate free place to live.
I ask unanimous consent that to place a copy of David Ray Ritcheson's entire statement in the RECORD.
I believe the best thing we can do to hasten the day that the United States is a hate free place to live is to work at least as hard toward preventing hate crimes as we must at prosecuting and punishing those who commit them.
As important as it is to apprehend, prosecute, convict, and punish severely those who commit hate crimes, we can all agree that in the long run it is even more important and better for society if we can increase our effectiveness in eradicating the desire to commit a hate crime in the first place.
Mr. Speaker, I have never been as proud of any constituent as I was of David Ray Ritcheson that day when he spoke such eloquent truth to power. By force of his own example and moral courage he helped clear the way for House passage of strong and long overdue hate crimes legislation. In the process, he made America better, and he made Texas stand tall. That is why it is so fitting to honor his memory. And that is why I am pleased to announce that the introduction of a resolution in tribute to this remarkable young man.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to read into the RECORD the text of this resolution.
* [End Insert]
Whereas David Ray Ritches, Mexican-American, was a friendly and cheerful student at Klein Collins High School in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, and a popular and talented football athlete who was loved and admired by his family and friends;
Whereas on April 23, 2006, at the age of 16, David Ray Ritcheson was severely assaulted while attending a party in Spring, Texas;
Whereas the former running back and freshman homecoming prince spent more than three months in the hospital as a result of the injuries he suffered in the assault and endured more than 30 surgeries to restore his appearance and regain the normal use of his bodily functions;
Whereas no human being deserves to be tortured and victimized like David Ray Ritcheson simply because he is of a different background, race, religion, ethnic group, or sexual orientation;
Whereas of all crimes, hate crimes are most likely to create or exacerbate tensions that can trigger larger community wide racial conflict, civil disturbances, and riots in communities at-risk of serious social and economic consequences;
Whereas hate-motivated violence disrupts the tranquility and safety of communities, impedes the movement of members of targeted groups, and prevents members of targeted groups from purchasing goods and services, obtaining or sustaining employment, and fulfilling the American Dream;
Whereas the courageous, eloquent, and compelling testimony of David Ray Ritcheson before a committee of the House of Representatives brought into vivid relief the human face of victims of hate crimes and the terrible suffering that such crimes inflict on victims and their families, friends, and communities;
Whereas David Ray Ritcheson, in his testimony, emphasized that he was a survivor who urged the Federal Government to take the lead in deterring individuals like those who attacked him from committing violent crimes against others because of where they are from, the color of their skin, the God they worship, the person they love, or the way they look, talk, or act;
Whereas David Ray Ritcheson's powerful testimony helped inspire the House of Representatives to pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1592 of the 110th Congress), which incorporates key provisions of the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 254 of the 110th Congress);
Whereas David Ray Ritcheson vowed to do whatever he could to help make the United States a hate-free place in which to live;
Whereas the courage displayed by David Ray Ritcheson is an inspiration to all Americans and reinforces the message that acts of bigotry and hate are unacceptable in the United States; and
Whereas, on July 1, 2007, David Ray Ritcheson died at the age of 18: Now, therefore be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives mourns the passing of David Ray Ritcheson and commends him for his activism in contributing and raising awareness toward the eradication and elimination of hate crimes in the United States.
* [Begin Insert]
Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to place into the record the testimony David Ray Ritcheson gave before the Judiciary Committee in April of this year in support of H.R. 1592.
* [End Insert]
Statement of Mr. David Ritcheson at the Hearing on H.R. 1592, the ``Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007''
I appear before you as a survivor of one of the most despicable, shocking, and heinous acts of hate violence this country has seen in decades. Nearly one year ago on April 22, 2006, I was viciously attacked by two individuals because of my heritage as a Mexican-American. After hanging out with a few friends at a local crawfish festival, my friend and I, along with the two individuals who would eventually attack me, returned to the home in Spring, Texas where I was to spend the night. It was shortly after arriving at this private residence that a minor disagreement between me and the attackers turned into the pretext for what I believe was a premeditated hate crime. This was a moment that would change my life forever. After I was surprisingly sucker punched and knocked out, I was dragged into the back yard for an attack that would last for over an hour. Two individuals, one an admitted racist skinhead, attempted to carve a swastika on my chest. Today I still bear that scar on my chest like a scarlet letter. After they stripped me naked, I was burned with cigarettes and savagely kicked by this skinhead's steel toed army boots. After burning me in the center of the forehead, the skinhead attacker was heard saying that now I look like an Indian with the red dot on my forehead. Moreover, the witnesses to the attack recalled the two attackers calling me a ``wetback'' and a ``spic'' as they continued to beat me as I lay unconscious. Once the attack came to an end, was dragged to the rear of the back yard and left for dead. Reportedy, I lay unconscious in the back yard of this private residence or the next 8-9 hours. It was not until the next morning that I was found and the paramedics came to my aid. I am recounting this tragic event from the testimony I heard during the trial of the two attackers this past fall. God spared me the memory of what happened that night. As I sit before you today, I still have no recollection of those life changing twelve hours or the weeks that followed.
Weeks later I recall waking up in the hospital with a myriad of emotions, including fear and uncertainty. Most of all, I felt inexplicable humiliation. Not only did I have to face my peers and my family, I had to face the fact that I had been targeted for violence in a brutal crime because of my ethnicity. This crime took place in middle-class America in the year 2006. The reality that hate is alive, strong, and thriving in the cities, towns, and cul-de-sacs of Suburbia, America was a surprise to me. America is the country I love and call home. However, the hate crime committed against me illustrates that we are still, in some aspects, a house divided. I know now that there are young people in this country who are suffering and confused, thirsting for guidance and in need of a moral compass. These are some of the many reasons I am here before you today asking that our government take the lead in deterring individuals like those who attacked me from committing unthinkable and violent crimes against others because of where they are from, the color of their skin, the God they worship, the person they love, or the way they look, talk or act.
I believe that education can have an important impact by teaching against hate and bigotry. In fact, I have encouraged my school and others to adopt the Anti-Defamation League's No Place for Hate program. If these crimes cannot be prevented, the federal government must have the authority to support state and local bias crime prosecutions.
As the weeks in the hospital turned into months, I began hearing the stories of support that came from literally all over the world. The local community pulled together in a really majestic way, reaffirming my hope in the good of humanity. My family told me about the crowded waiting rooms full of the great friends from past and present. I heard about prayer groups before school in front of my school, the Klein Collins Campus. The donations that helped my family and me get through an unthinkable time poured in from generous people scattered across the globe. These donations would help pay for the enormous hospital bills from the over thirty surgeries I underwent during the first three months after the attack. Most of these operations were essential to saving my life--and others were necessary just to make my body able to perform what would be normal functions.
As the recovery process continued, my family began to slowly inform me of what had happened to me. They went on to tell me of the effective response by the Harris County Sheriff's Department and the Harris County Constables who had investigated the hate crime committed against me. I slowly began learning the about the background of the two individuals who had been arrested for attacking me. I was informed that one of the attackers, David Tuck, was a self proclaimed racist skinhead who had viciously attacked at least two other Hispanics in the past few years, almost killing one of them. I learned that he had been in and out of several juvenile facilities. Most surprising, I learned that he had been released from the Texas Youth Commission a little over a month before he attacked me. In fact, he was still on probation the night he nearly ended my life. I was told that he had ``white power'' and swastikas tattoos on his body. I was informed that his older step brother, a major influence in his life, was also a self-proclaimed skinhead currently serving time in a Texas jail. Here I was, learning shocking details of a person who lived only miles from me and who had at one time attended the same high school that I attended. How could this type of hate be breeding just miles from my home in a city as diverse as Spring without anyone taking notice?
I quickly learned of and benefited from the support of groups such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Both groups immediately provided whatever support they could to help me and my family. From setting up fundraisers to help my family with unanticipated expenses to providing emotional support confirming that I was not going through this alone, both groups were instrumental in assisting me and my family in the process of moving forward. There are so many people to thank for the support they have given me, including the ongoing encouragement to appear before you today.
Last November and December I sat in a courtroom in Harris County, Texas and faced my attackers for the first time as they went through their respective trials. I am glad to say that justice was done. I am proud of the job our county prosecutors and investigators did in ensuring life sentences for the two individuals who attacked me. Specifically, I want to recognize the great job that Assistant District Attorney Mike Trent did during the prosecution of these two individuals. However, despite the obvious bias motivation of the crime, it is very frustrating to me that neither the state of Texas nor the federal government was able to utilize hate crime laws on the books today in the prosecution of my attackers. I am upset that neither the Justice Department nor the FBI was able to assist or get involved in the investigation of my case because ``the crime did not fit the existing hate crime laws.'' Today I urge you to take the lead in this time of needed change and approve the ``Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007''. I was fortunate to live in a town where local law enforcement authorities had the resources, the ability--and the will--to effectively investigate and prosecute the hate violence directed against me. But other bias crime victims may not live in such places. I ask you to provide authority for local law enforcement to work together with federal agencies when someone is senselessly attacked because of where they are from or because of who they are. Local prosecutors should be able to look to the federal government for support when these types of crimes are committed. Most importantly, these crimes should be called what they are and prosecuted for what they are, ``hate crimes''!
In fact, because there was so much attention focused on the fact that my case was not being prosecuted in Texas as a hate crime, the Anti-Defamation League and the Cook County (Illinois) Hate Crimes Prosecution Council published a Pamphlet called ``Hate Crimes Data Collection and Prosecutions: Frequently Asked Questions,'' designed to address some of the basic legal and practical considerations involved in labeling and charging a hate crime.
My experience over the last year has reminded me of the many blessings I took for granted for so long. With my humiliation and emotional and physical scars came the ambition and strong sense of determination that brought out the natural fighter in me. I realized just how important family and the support of community truly are. I will always recall my parents at my bedside providing me with strength and reassurance. They showed me how to be strong during my whole recovery, a process I am still going through today. Seeing the hopeful look of concern in the faces of my siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles everyday was the direct support I needed to get through those terrible first few months. As each day passed, I became more and more aware of everything I had to live for. I am glad to tell you today that my best days still lay ahead of me.
Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story. It has been a blessing to know that the most terrible day of my life may help put another human face on the campaign to enact a much needed law such as the ``Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007''. I can assure you, from this day forward I will do what ever I can to help make our great country, the United States of America, a hate free place to live.
With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time I have remaining?
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from Texas has 14 minutes remaining.
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Let me take an opportunity to acknowledge Albert and Laticia Galvin, the parents of David Ray Ritcheson. I mention them, their strength and their sense of dedication.
I also wanted to acknowledge the outpouring of support by the Members of Congress, members of the House Judiciary Committee and our local community. We came together, people from all segments of the community, to honor him in his passing, but also to commit ourselves to ridding our community of hate. Representatives from the NAACP and LULAC, faith leaders, elected officials, all of them put aside differences, as my good friend from Indiana has indicated, partisan differences, and realized that hate is really not the definition of America.
And if I might refresh the memories of my colleagues, just a few weeks ago we stood on the floor to acknowledge July Fourth, the Independence Day for America, again a day of joy. But the points of accolades for this Nation really focused not only on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which gives us the freedom of association, due process so that your rights are protected, but we're reminded of the Declaration of Independence. And it indicated that we all are created equal, with certain inalienable rights of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That's all that David sought in his young life, and I hope that as we move legislation forward, in the other body and here, on stomping out hate crimes, we will be reminded of this young life, not only David, but his mother and father, Albert and Laticia Galvin, who, if you met them, you would know how David was able to be so strong and so determined.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, as this bill is intended to do, let me dwell on the life of David Ray Ritcheson and how much he has contributed to moving this country forward. I would like to read just a portion of his statement from his own words in the Judiciary Committee speaking about the experience of his tragedy:
``After burning me in the center of the forehead, the skinhead attacker was heard saying that now I looked like an Indian with a red dot on my forehead. Moreover, the witnesses to the attack recall the two attackers calling me a `wetback' and a `spic' as they continued to beat me as I lay unconscious. Once the attack came to an end, I was dragged to the rear of the backyard and left for dead.''
The bill that David was so articulate in helping us move forward provides resources for our smaller communities in order to ensure that if Federal resources are needed, that nexus, that connection, that assistance would be provided. Therefore, it is clear that David's testimony helped assist rural communities.
I cite, for example, another tragic incident that occurred in a rural area, and maybe the county in that area might not have been able to move forward. This bill, however, is already out of the House. So our tribute today really focuses on the courage which David provided to move that bill forward.
In Wyoming, Matthew Shepard was in a rural area. It was a rural area in Jasper, Texas, with Mr. James Byrd. So we know that the bill that has passed the House truly would provide assistance to those communities that would ask for it if such a tragedy occurred in their community. Again, Mr. Speaker, simply if they asked for it.
I want to emphasize that this is about David, so let me share with you his words. These are the words that he offered to the Judiciary Committee: ``It has been a blessing to know that the most terrible day of my life may help put another human face on the campaign to enact a much needed law such as H.R. 1592. I can assure you from this day forward I will do whatever I can to help America become our great country, the United States of America a hate-free place to live.'' These are David's words.
As we move forward in trying to capture what his life was truly about, this young, friendly, cheerful student at Klein Collins High School in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, popular and a talented football athlete, who was loved and admired by his family and friends, we want to ensure that, as we go forward, if such a dastardly act would happen again, we focus on the family.
Mr. Speaker, we would like to see health care support, including supportive counseling and therapy to prevent future severe depression; construction and personnel costs for shelters and hate crime support centers; direct service providers who are trained to try and help those who have been victims of hate crimes; health care insurance for counseling and therapy; hotline services, so for those who witness hate crimes or other acts, we would be able to provide an immediate source of information for them to report what happened; short- and long-term individual counseling and support groups for hate crime victims and their families.
This is a time to acknowledge this former running back and freshman homecoming prince, who spent more than 3 months in the hospital. But at the same time, it is a time of celebration. That is what this resolution stands for. Let me thank the list of cosponsors who have provided their affirmation of the importance of David's life.
Mr. Speaker, with that, I reserve the balance of my time.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman from Indiana for his courtesies. That is the note which I will end on, is a note of courage.
As we look at this young man, and I am going to do something quite unusual, Mr. Pence, the family is watching, and I would hope that that would be the spirit of this resolution, simply to acknowledge the courage of David Ray Ritcheson, this talented young man, as I have said, Laticia and Albert Galvan's child, the brother of so many siblings, that they would understand what it took to come into the Judiciary Committee room.
We would like to thank the cosponsors of this legislation, and I would like them to have a lasting impression of this distinguished young man.
The courage, fortitude, the work he has done has enlightened many. As Mr. Pence said, we can have a number of debates and questions about the underlying issue, but the above-lying issue is simply a resolution thanking a young man who has lost his life in the face of an unspeakable tragedy. And we are all committed, whether it is a moral question or whether it is by legislative initiative, we abhor hatred. This Nation was not founded to promote hatred, although many of us came to this Nation differently.
So I would simply ask my colleagues to join me. And I yield to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Pence) for an inquiry. His family is watching, and I hope this can be perceived, this is an unlikely question to you, be perceived simply as a resolution, making no further statement, on the celebration of his life. We would like to call for a vote, and we would like to have your support. I have heard that you are willing to support this on that basis, and I would like to commend this to my colleagues simply on that basis. This is a resolution honoring a young man who has called to the attention of all of us the idea of the fact that we all abhor hatred of any kind.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Thank you for your kindness.
Let me bring my remarks to a close by reading some of the words I read before. I will end with these words: ``It has been a blessing to know,'' and this was testimony in the House Judiciary Committee ``that the most terrible day of my life may help put another human face on the tragedy,'' and these are my words, of hate crimes and hatred.
Let me thank the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) for his leadership. Let me thank the ranking member, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith), as well as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Crime and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime Mr. Scott. All of them have been generous, as has the staff of the Judiciary Committee, in helping us pay tribute to David Ray Ritcheson. May he rest in peace. God bless his family, and God bless America for being the Nation that abhors hate and recognizes this beautiful young man.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT