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Public Statements

Racial Intimidation

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

RACIAL INTIMIDATION -- (Senate - September 27, 2008)

Mr. SMITH. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to speak about a recent act of hate and intimidation in my home State of Oregon.

On Tuesday morning, September 23, 2008, the custodial crew at George Fox University found a life-size cardboard cutout of Senator Barack Obama hung by fishing wire from a tree on the campus. Attached to the cutout was a sign that read, ``Act Six reject.'' George Fox is a Christian university of 1,800 undergraduate students in Newberg, OR. In an effort to expand diversity on campus, George Fox instituted a university scholarship program--Act Six--that provides full scholarships to students chosen for their leadership potential from Portland high schools. While not a requirement, many of the recipients are from a minority group.

Sadly, this crude and incendiary act of racial intimidation highlights our continued need to address the issue of civil rights in our country as racism still lurks in many dark corners of our Nation. Hate crimes and acts of racial intimidation seek to marginalize entire groups of Americans--and it simply cannot be tolerated in a democratic society.

The freedom and opportunities in the United States are the envy of the world. And while our Nation has made significant strides in protecting minority groups, the recent event at George Fox is a reminder that the civil rights struggle remains far from finished.

I praise the actions of George Fox President Robin Baker for acting quickly to unite the campus in expressing outrage to the act, and in urging students to show that the incident has no place in our society.

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