Pelosi Remarks at Forum to Commemorate the Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education


Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats at a forum to commemorate the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and to examine current enforcement of the Civil Rights Act in U.S. schools.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Ranking Member [Scott].  Thank you for the invitation from you and for your leadership and our Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Nadler, for bringing us together for the resolution that you will present.  It is an honor to be here with so many other champions, Mr. Clyburn and others in our Democratic Caucus, to fight injustice in the education system.

Sixty-four years ago, as you mentioned, the Supreme Court unlocked the schoolhouse doors and reaffirmed the meaning of our nation’s creed, ‘that all are created equal.’  Not separate but equal, but equal.  And in the years after, in bus boycotts and sit-ins in Washington and Selma, brave men and women advanced the journey towards justice and equality.

But that progress, as you mentioned, is under threat today.  From day one, the Trump Administration has undermined civil rights protections in our schools, kicking out the ladders of opportunity from under our children.  Our children.  We must combat that injustice and build a future where every child has the tools to learn and succeed in the 21st Century.  Every child.

Today, thanks to your resolution, the forum and the new resolution to enforce Title VI protections takes a strong step forward in that mission.

I have to say, as I did four years ago, when we did the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, that it’s personal because when this happened, my father was the Mayor of Baltimore and it was the first time I ever saw him on television speaking about an issue in the news.  It was in the early ‘50s so it was not like today where people are on television all the time, and he spoke about the decision.  He said, ‘It is the law of the land.  It will be honored in Baltimore.  We are all so proud.’

But it [the decision] was honored in an exemplary way in Baltimore at the time because they prepared for it.  The Board of Education were people who were committed to justice.  The Superintendent of schools was committed to justice so there was a smooth transition of which I am proud, and I take the liberty of mentioning it today.

And also, our Supreme Court Justice.  God intervened.  We were on the wrong path, God intervened.  We got the right Chief Justice.  He brought people together and united in this way which was important to our country.  ‘E Pluribus Unum,’ from many, one.  They were one in that decision.  We have to bring back unity in the commitment to our kids.

Thank you, all of you, for your leadership on behalf of all of our children.

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