Lawyers Group Remembers James Byrd Dragged to Death by White Supremacists in Texas

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[James Byrd Jr.\White Supremacy]
Kristen Clarke: "As we remember James Byrd Jr., we recommit ourselves to fighting white supremacy and fighting for justice for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others."
Photo: Twitter

Sunday was the 22-year mark of the horrific hate crime that took the life of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas.

On June 7, 1998, Mr. Byrd, a Black 49-year-old father of three, had just left a friend’s anniversary party and was walking home, when a pickup truck with three white supremacists in it stopped and picked him up. The next morning Mr. Byrd’s body was found – he had been beaten, chained to the truck, and dragged to death.

Earlier this year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law launched the James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate to honor his legacy.

The following is a statement from Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“Sadly, twenty-two years after white supremacist violence tragically took the life of James Byrd Jr., we still see the same type of violence against African Americans today, perpetrated by both civilian vigilantes and members of law enforcement. As we remember James Byrd Jr., we recommit ourselves to fighting white supremacy and fighting for justice for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others. We will use all the tools in our toolbox, from pushing for final passage of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, to defending the rights of protesters demanding structural change. We cannot allow white supremacy to wreak more violence and devastation on America.”

About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.

About the James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate (www.byrdcentertostophate.org)

The James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate, housed at the Lawyers’ Committee, supports communities and individuals targeted for hate and challenges white supremacy by using creative legal advocacy, disrupting systems that enable hate, and educating the general public and policymakers.

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