Press Statement
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
June 4, 2008
Contact: Tina Tran, 713-236-0306

Statement from Senator Ellis regarding 10th Anniversary of the Murder of James Byrd, Jr.

"On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the untimely death of James Byrd, Jr. I took some time to reflect upon the passage of the Hate Crimes Act in 2001 that was inspired by the tragic circumstances surrounding his death.

We wanted to send a clear message to those, like the vicious perpetrators involved in James Byrd's murder, who prey on innocent Texans solely because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation, that their acts of hate would not be tolerated under Texas Law.

I hope we reach a time where a Hate Crimes statute will no longer be necessary. No Texan should ever be victimized because of who they are and what they believe, but until we reach that time, I will proudly advocate for a legal system that seeks to deter such hateful acts.

Our children aren't born hating. Let's come together as families and communities to raise a generation that embraces unity and tolerance, and strives to become the "Beloved Community" Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed we could."