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tv   Rep. James Clyburn Testifies on Designation of a National Hymn - Part 1  CSPAN  March 2, 2022 11:11pm-11:55pm EST

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minutes. >> without objection authorized to recess at any time welcome everyone to today's hearing unexamined significance of lift every voice and sing it. before we continue we have established an e-mail address
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previously shared distribution of the use today's hearing would mute their microphones that they are not speaking. anytime you seek recognition i will recognize myself for opening statements. lift every voice and sing as an inspiring and moving him when that increase central important place in american culture. the nation begins its commemoration of black history month it's worth at this time to consider the history and containment culture importance of this iconic song. the origins of historical context of african-americans, struggles against the racism and inequality of slavery, later re- forced by jim crow laws braces social norms as well as human nature. they hope, perseverance and diversity. it is an inspiring song bird western by hr-3 zero one a bill that designates this particular song or him, lift
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every voice as a national him. the proposal would not displace the star-spangled banner, but the national anthem would rather add lift every voice to official repertoire of national songs. i know in tennessee we have five or six different songs. indeed today we find ourselves going to the latest round of national debate about what it means to be born in america. counts as part of our national story. this debate overlays many of the policies specific engaged in recent years on issues, race, voting rights and hate crimes. perhaps understandably this debate can become very heated to take off the rough edges. it's threatened to pull our nation apart. this is all the more reason it's important for us to have exclusive national symbols and patriotic customs to make people understand what they are about, it is not just a
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song but a particular group of americans at the song can be attribute for every american. we have national symbols and customs ingenuity of the american people's much broader and deeper than these customs. adding lift every voice and sing to our nation's could be just the saying that serves the feeling to bring this country together. that is what majority clyburn said is the purpose to bring this country together. perhaps our witnesses will successfully be able to make that case today. i think jim clyburn and all of our witnesses being here today and support their testimony. now i like to recognize the ranking member of the sub commander the gentleman from louisiana for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman pretty want to thank our witnesses for being here this morning. this is a hearing you noted his focus on the song lift every voice and sing.
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the united states to make it a national him. as one scholar at the song is an omnipresent part of african-american worship traditions and enduring refrain". songs first published the performance was a celebration of abraham likens birthday in 1900. it has been since sung by many notable people on many notable occasions over the last 120 years with the song honors affect each of us is made in god's image and every single person has dignity and by that's not related in any way to the color of our skin, where we live or what we do for living. all of us are created equally and god's image. that is part of the dna of america that we believe. racism and racial violence, violates the most fundamental principles of our great nation and the will of our creator. we all acknowledge it. america is not perfect but is an exceptional country. we are always growing, we are always learning, we are always striving towards a more perfect union. that is our charge and that is
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our call. we will consider and explore our history, we will learn from it. and it will show us in the end i think how exceptional our country truly is. in recent years is in the lowest unemployment rate for african-american history thankfully we've seen historic criminal justice reform producing expanded educational opportunities for all children in the country for this much more work to do as we all know. we have to unite and empower all communities in america. unlike mr. clyburn said we have to bring this country together. any measure that will help do that we think is worthy of our time in discussions of thanks the witnesses were being here look forward to hearing from you, thank you, mr. chairman i yield back. >> thank you mr. johnson for your statement. insert now that you are now recognized for up to five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the song lift up your voice and sing's been a beacon of hope for generations of
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americans. its message will rooted and shaped by the experience of african-americans in their struggle against racial aggression, is universal. bringing hope and faith in the future of in the face of darkness. i appreciate the opportunity today to examine the origins of the historical context in which lift every voice and sing was written as well as continuing importance to american culture and values. we'll be able to hear from our colleagues distinguish house majority whip congressman james clyburn about his legislation hr-3 zero one which would designate lift every voice and sing as our countries national him. the song was first sung my school children and hundred to commemorate abraham lincoln's birthday persisted influence over the past 120 years. brothers james weldon johnson and jay rosenman johnson wrote lift every voice and sing at the turn of the 20th century. this was a period in which the promise of racial equality
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made by the nation to african-americans during reconstruction or betrayed. previous advances towards equality were being dismantled. segregation had been codified in plessy versus ferguson and jim crow reign of terror was gaining its foothold. all the while the ku klux klan wreaked havoc it gets african-americans initiating campaign of racist terror, violence and murder. to all of this, african-americans continue to risk their lives for their own vision of what freedom could be in the aftermath of slavery. even in the face of horrific violence they never seized in the struggle for freedom lift every voice to sing is a song about transcending the difficulties in maintaining hope for the future. not only to acknowledge the suffering of the past, but also to look ahead to a brighter future. it is a reminder that while there may be journey ahead may be arduous, obstacles are surmountable if we join together in the fight for equality. all the lift every voice and sings a song that recognizes
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the history and practice of african-americans, its influence and appeal extends beyond the boundaries of race. from its conception to today, lift every voice and sing has and continues unify individuals as well as cultures. it is a song of uplift and solidarity. it speaks to the universal human condition of struggle connects us to a common purpose equality for all. the quality coupled with powerful lyrics and open perseverance has resonated key gathering such as presidential inaugurations both political parties and civil rights. it is endorsed by booker t. washington in 1905, later adopted by the naacp becoming a rallying cry during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. lift every voice and sing as a reminder of how far up we have come as a country. while simultaneously calling upon to continue our work for a better future. the song represents patriotism
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and the best possible sense. commands us to be dedicated to her nation and to honor the sacrifices of the generations that came before us continuing to work for the promise of freedom for all americans pretty want to thank congressman clyburn for bringing forth this bill and i also welcome all our witnesses. look forward to the testimony and i yield back. >> thank you mr. nadler. on the offense or drawing is present or not mr. jordan do you want recognized for opening statement? >> and mr. george is not with us will go right into the opening remarks i will make, thank you. we welcome our witnesses about panels, thank them for participating in today's hearing. we both run at 9:30 or so we may have to break up during your testimony and come back. i will now introduce each of the witnesses with a brief introduction recognize a witness for his or her oral testimony. please note each of your witness statements will be entered into the record and
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use anything that is false you could be subject to penalties under section 1,011,001 of the u.s. code. there is a five minute mark, limit your remarks to five minutes the timer is on the screen that has all the different folks on it. i don't know what you call that but it's a screen where everyone's picture comes up. my apologies. witness on the first panel same house majority whip congressman clyburn represents the sixth congressional district of south carolina served in congress since 1993. in 20071st elected majority whip third ranking position in the house and served in that position from seven -- 11. once again elected majority whip gained the majority in 2019 served in that position since. during the times they were in the minority to thousand 11 --
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2019 his distant house democratic leader. bradley served as chair and vice chair of the house caucus and chair of the congressional black caucus. also recipient of the eye am a man award. many accomplishments, as introduction of hr-3 8012 designate lift every voice and sing as a national him. whip clyburn i welcome you to today's hearing and i recognize you for five minutes per. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. thanks to all of you who are joining here today. most a special day our witnesses who will be giving testimony for particular to welcome longtime friend russell, we enjoyed almost three decades of a professional relationship before i came to congress. both of us are still hanging
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in here. he is the chair of the national board of the naacp and i welcome him and the others here today. i want to thank you, mr. chairman and the ranking member for calling this hearing. i particularly want to associate myself with the comments made by ranking member johnson. they were very prolific and i really appreciate them so much. i am going to be skipping through some of what i had to say because he said it all for me. chairman nadler, thank you so much. you have risen to elevated heights and i enjoy being here with you today. and so recently i have been reflecting on this whole
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notion of what benjamin franklin reported to have said when he was asked what he and the founding fathers, he is reported to have applied a republic if you can keep it. later on, drawings with jon adams and thomas jefferson e pluribus unum out of one pretty placed on our currency as a nation's motto. our nation continues to struggle with the issues of race and equity. the threats of our fragile democracy are afraid and as the people's representative it is incumbent upon us to make every effort to heed franklin's words of concern is
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an adams expression of unity. as his responsibility demonstrate not only by words but by actions we can and will keep this republic intact and its people unified. to designate the iconic him, lift every voice and sing the national him for the united states of america. it will be one step forward. lift every voice and sing was written as a point and set to music by his brother jon roseman johnson was first performed fibroid 12500 schoolchildren in jacksonville, florida.
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in 1905t washington recognize the him and it became published throughout the black community and across the united states. in 1919 the naacp designate lift every voice as his official song it was dubbed the black national anthem. i have scores of people with whom i've interacted have never been comfortable with that definition. we believe that out of many backgrounds and experiences there should be but one national anthem. and we believe lift every voice in sing is a him that is so cherished by so many people of all faiths, creeds, backgrounds, and experiences that designated it as our national him would be very fitting and proper. it's wide appeal is no
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accident. it is produced and distributed by approximately 40 religious publishing houses throughout the united states. it is sung by all persuasions. recent renditions have proven just how wide its appeal is from alicia keys performance at the super bowl to beyoncé's rendition in 2018. the lyrics saying applicable to the experiences of every ethnic background in america. they also acknowledge the challenges of our future. let's consider the words has taught us, sing a song full of the hope the president has brought us. face of the rising sun of our new let us march on to victory is won.
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i think the committee for holding this hearing and look forward to hearing from today's witnesses. i am hopeful that this hearing and this legislation will help us fully realize our nation's motto is we continue our pursuit of a more perfect union. and i thank you for having me. >> thank you mr. clyburn as always well delivered. are now the panel the second payout with witnesses will come forward and we will recognize them. first we have adam russell he's the chairman of the board of directors for the naacp. the position he has held since 2017 has walls of the roles of the boarding serve the president for the state conference branches i was for 35 years the director of human rights the human rights
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commission. mr. russell you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. good more of a german : ranking member johnson and members of the house judiciary subcommittee on the constitution, civil rights and civil liberties. founded on february 12 covid 1909 the one part of the birthday of abraham lincoln. the national association for colored people the naacp is the oldest largest most widely recognized grassroots civil rights organization. our membership consists of hundreds of thousands of card-carrying individuals representing diverse, racial, ethnic, social and economic backgrounds participating in more than 2200 units throughout the nation we have active units on college and
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university campuses and even units behind prison walls. these units are supported by millions of digital followers and military members serving in units throughout the world. rm leon russell chairman of the 64 member board of directors of the naacp. the governing body of our national organization. in this capacity i am responsible for overseeing the development of the associations policies and strategy implementation and monitoring. i was delighted to receive your invitation to testify with respect to hr-3 zero one lift every voice and sing. so allow me too first thank my long-time friend who keeps changing the number of years we have known each other, james clyburn for introducing the bill and let me from the
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outset indicate that the national association for the advancement of colored people fully support adoption of lift every voice as a national him. i will address the history and significance of the song and why we as the naacp believe it should be designated as the national him. let me recognize that we do not call this a great him to replace the national anthem. decomposers never intended for that to happen. it is clear that they wrote a song that spoke reverently to the lived experience of people who were hear from the beginning of this great experiment in democracy and that they intended to the words in triumphal music to
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ensure that our nation be ever mindful of that role in the development of our democracy. the fact that this song has been sung continuously for more than 122 years since it was first performed and then he is a large and small by children in school, by civil rights activists, and mass meetings in the midst of the civil rights struggle, by college acquires, the tabernacle choir and even lately by crowds at national football league stadium is a testament to the spiritual impact and meaning for millions of americans. the song was written by james johnson set to music by his brother from jacksonville, florida. the inspiration for the song was a request that james johnson provide a poem to be
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included in a community celebration of the birthday of the great emancipator abraham lincoln and february of 1900. it is important to note that james johnson was principal of stanton school in jacksonville. the school was a primary school serving the black community of jacksonville when johnson became the principal. however that high school classes under his leadership. johnson's life experience was reflective of the lived experience of black folks that it so eloquently describes in the words of the song. facing the threat posed by racism in his own town johnson and his brother would move north to new york city where he would become a historically recognized civil rights activist, diplomat, author, politician, journalist, poet, educator, lawyer, songwriter and one of the movers of the
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harlem renaissance. he was indeed the embodiment of many early african-american trailblazers. most about recognized johnson as the author of lift every voice and sing. however if you are aware of his hard work and dedication to the cause of the civil rights and social justice exemplified by his fight against racism and his fight for equality during the years he served as the secretary of the national association for the advancement of colored people. i need to note here he succeeded a white man who had served in the position until he was beaten nearly to death by a white mob in texas or investigate that lynching in 1919. johnson had been hired as field secretary by the
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association in 1916 when resigned, johnson became the first negro to hold a senior staff position at the association in 1920. the context i remind you the association was founded in 1909. johnson's first story is emblematic of much of the spiritual meaning that i recognize in the song i commend you to further study. and 1900 abraham lincoln birthday celebration johnson wrote a poem of what he had written a decided to change the to a song so he asked his brother professor jon grossman there is much speculation about what johnson intended lift every voice and sing to be. it is clear the song as part
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of that celebration has become synonymous with and it's the very theme for the modern civil rights. although lift her voice was written as a part of the program is a tribute to lincoln, lincoln's name never appears in the song. what's clear is the invitation is a celebration inspired the creation of also clear children sang the song were so inspired they carried with him the rest of their lives. the celebration included students from all across the city. 500 voices. after that, in florida and all across the country. it would not be forgotten. i could not find any
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indication the naacp him clear during his tenure as a secretary he served from 1920 until 1930 the board adopted the song in 19203 as the naacp him. let me also say. >> if you could conclude your remarks you have gone long. >> okay. just let me make it clear that the naacp fully endorses lift every voice and sing as a national him because we feel it brings this country together it speaks to oppression of any people. and let me add that we strongly urge you to adopt in the. i would say you are rendition
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even though mr. clyburn is not. thank you. >> thank you that means a lot. >> maxine smith was my friend and her picture is on my wall outside. and she was a wonderful woman and treasured for many, many years. thank you for remembering her. our next witness is doctor dejuan doctor reese is associate director of the smithsonian national museum of african-american history and culture. she rings more than 30 years of knowledge and experience in the field more than ten years in the national museum of african-american history. the inaugural permanent exhibition which you see the
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secretary's research curators resume freedom sounds served as executive committee chair the institutional group of the smithsonian wrote the initiative in 2019. gets a phd from nyu, masterson university of michigan undergraduate degree. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. chairman nadler, ranking member jordan, chairman cohen, ranking member johnson and members of the committee. twenty thank you today for giving me the opportunity to testify on hr-3 zero one. as has been introduce my name is reese i have the pleasure of serving as the smithsonian's national museum of african-american history and culture associate director for territorial affairs. in a lift every voice and sing the johnson brothers captured
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the full story of the african-american experience. acknowledging the emotional and physical toll of enslavement and the strength and face it took to survive it and persevere. the lyrics and majestic accompaniment galvanize the black community quickly began to make its way through communities across the country. by 1919 the naacp had designated lift every voice and sing as an official song it wasn't long before you could find copies of the hymn inserted or pasted into the hymnals of the black churches across the country. lift every voice and sing is a perfect fusion of poetry in music, the lyric trades experience of black people through slavery and freedom using visual metaphors that capture the emotion and significance of each line. jay roseman johnson's arrangement amplifies these lyrics. they shift from major to minor
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keys in each verse mirrors the highs and lows of that experience that are embodied nearly to the act of singing. in the speech -like setting of the first three words and refrain provides a direct connection to the emotional version of the text. johnson was steadfast in describing lift every voice and sing as a him, hymns were used in a variety of religious traditions written to foster a shared experience as voices come together and song. the text can focus solely on religious theme our focus on universal theme that speak to the moral, spiritual and emotional concerns that are part of the human condition. lift every voice and sing is a combination of both. the language is largely universal invoke the presence of god in a higher power. johnson took great pride in the way he served the great
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camp black communities inspired in the way people across the world identified the core message and embrace it as their own. since its publication lift every voice and sing public events, conventions, serve the nation much in the same way juliet wore house battle hymn of the republic did in the civil war. lift every voice and sing's been in the hymnal for black nominations for more than a century. however it was not until the 1980s when the song started larger mainline denomination. the episcopal church is one of the first to respond when included the him and the publication of the standard 1982 hymnal. today the count is 44 hymnals lift every voice and sing
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appear. james weldon johnson palm honored lincoln's legacy by reflecting on the symbolic meaning of his presidency. and what it meant for african americans in the nation overall. lift every voice and sing legacy as a source of pride and inspiration on a transformative hope the pursuit of liberty for all. thank you again for giving me the opportunity to testify before you today the historical importance of lift every voice and sing it. i'm happy to answer any questions you might have been. >> thank you very much missed doctor weise and says black history month i should clarify an error, ms. smith was not the national treasurer, that was jesse turner who was part of her team. she was executive director at the local in memphis for like 40 years. our next witness is doctor naomi is professor of women's
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studies of african-american studies. residential's for the university of michigan. her research focused on issues surrounding race voice and gender. 2019 scholar and resident phd and ma from harvard and a ba. professor andre recognized for five minutes. >> thank you chairman coleman chairman nadler ranking member and members of the subcommittee. i am happy and very honored to have my voice included in this hearing supporting lift every voice and sing to become a national him up. my entrance into the discussion gets to the core of
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what i want to emphasize the sense of belonging. while belonging might be a birthright of citizenship it is not always experience in the happenings of daily life. belonging is not proven by statistics or enforced in surveys and in person and online workshops. belonging should not be it's instead it's a feeling of what we are seeing being fully human. i want to spend a moment unpacking the musical term, him. goes back to the ancient greeks with discussion the music dictionary for gold standard for scholarly reference describes the him and its ability to leave or combine art. the english dictionary traces its history from latin, greek and hebrew with it being a
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masterful competition in a religious service. sometimes as not being part of the text of the bible. and song of praise and honor of a country et cetera". i like this term because it has a long history to the present. in addition to the jewish greek and roman uses is also medieval is a poetic object. the him with the genre it was later adopted by a jet adopted by protestant faith for singing and worship this is important for the unity to create for belonging in a community. in the mid- 20th century it has a special abuse and civil rights movement and links the
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themes of devotion, praise, liberty and protest altogether. hence since in picardy up to the present as a genre the hymn has spiritual, religious, political and social capacities that centered and our culture and community. the lift every voice and sing was written by black compositional team johnson and his brother jon roseman johnson. there's nothing in the three stances of the text that exclusively refers to african-americans. the black experience is embodied while also referencing the triumph, struggles, and strength that all humans encounter. the text refers to the hard work, aspirations, motivation and moving towards victory. national scholars have connections to a heterogeneous population present the opportunity to elevate voices from its larger community.
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south africa dismantled apartheid and create a new national anthem the committee was chaired by its most prominent black south african composure, the national anthem of south africa adopted in 1997 brings together the five most widely spoken south africa's 11 official languages. sections of the anthem contained previous national anthems from south africa white and black population. the intended result was for the national music, there national anthem to voice the sound through language and music of its diverse community. a nation has create its own sonic landscape such power comes from the connectedness that people feel, how are their experiences embraced and emblems of national representation? it can generate belonging as a
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national him lift every voice and sing will engage familiar audiences while embracing new communities. thank you for allowing me too testify on today's important topic. i will be happy to enter any questions at the appropriate time. >> thank you professor andre perry had the bill go off weak link would have her witnesses for a few more minutes and see what we can do. our next witness is present of the federal douglas foundation of north carolina. participate in sit ins and in the 19 served at the advisory board for trump is not recognized for five minutes. >> good morning to all the members of the subcommittee. lift every voice and sing will forever have a powerful place in american history and will be a continual reminder
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equality and justice must be defended. it was written in the time of jim crow which was a dark time in our history of which i lived in and had the opportunity to put jim crow when i participated in the sit in and greensboro, north carolina. the song was first performed in public to celebrate the birthday of president abraham lincoln which reminds me of the resiliency that we exhibited when we came up out of slavery. it continued until he eventually broke the back of jim crow. one of my concerns is this great aspirational song not be used out of context of a racial divide to take us back to times that were no longer are. that those who may vote against this measure are not viewed as racist or having a difference of opinion.
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history shows us the unifying progress america has made. one of the examples and progress of elections of black americans and some of the highest in the land appointing justice thomas the supreme court the black lieutenant governor just to name a few voting is an example as a matter fact, the preamble of the constitution for the reasoning for forming a new nation and begin with we the people.
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before that we have the declaration of independence in which the center showed the american exceptionalism looks like. we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. they have been created with certain unalienable rights and among life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and ends that is to secure the rights the government are instituted among men they arrive and just power of consent from the government. those of you have been elected must lean for addressing issues that are facing the country as a whole. according from the research center as of april 15, 2021 america's top ten views facing the nation indicated a very
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number two number four illegal immigration for seven hour freeze of racism 45% american equality 43%. climate change 39% as we see 45% of americans view racism's a very important issue that needs to be addressed. however as i stated earlier my concern is we do not use lift every voice and sing as a symbolic gesture to further divide. it is our hope we understand
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the progress of the american experience is never complete to become a unified country. thank you. >> thank you at mr. and thank you for your bravery for the sit in that was strong action. i think we should take our break there six months remaining in the vote. i would ask all of the members of the committee to vote immediately and return immediately. i'm going to move them by the time i get back hope everyone would back with me. at this point were going to recess for approximately eight minutes and return, thank you. >> thank you very much. thank you for the leadership, membership of the staff who invited me here today


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