President Obama Signs Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The President signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law earlier today is something that would not have happened without all our work the past few years to elect a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President. Sure, things can get frustrating at times in Washington, DC, and they're certainly frustrating for progressives in Virginia right now. I'd suggest that we keep on fighting, while we also keep in mind the great victories we've achieved the past few years, and the great accomplishments that progressives have realized throughout this country's history. President Obama signing this bill into law is an example of how our activism is translating into results on a wide range of issues, from hate crimes to climate change to health care reform. Not fast enough, true, but at least we're making progress after 8 years of regression under Republican (mis)rule.

For a transcript of President Obama's this afternoon, please click here. The following is an excerpt:
To all the activists, all the organizers, all the people who helped make this day happen, thank you for your years of advocacy and activism, pushing and protesting that made this victory possible. You know, as a nation we've come far on the journey towards a more perfect union. And today, we've taken another step forward. This afternoon, I signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. (Applause.)

This is the culmination of a struggle that has lasted more than a decade. Time and again, we faced opposition. Time and again, the measure was defeated or delayed. Time and again we've been reminded of the difficulty of building a nation in which we're all free to live and love as we see fit. But the cause endured and the struggle continued, waged by the family of Matthew Shepard, by the family of James Byrd, by folks who held vigils and led marches, by those who rallied and organized and refused to give up, by the late Senator Ted Kennedy who fought so hard for this legislation -- (applause) -- and all who toiled for years to reach this day.