“….And when I say courage, uh, what the point he was trying to make is, look, uh, we’re moving too slow. We’re moving too slow. And there’s no such thing as it takes time. The people who say it takes time are the people who’s rights are not in question….”
Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) at his congressional district immigration town hall
on the campus of MCC-Penn Valley in Kansas City on May 4, 2013.
Portions of Representative Emanuel Cleaver’s (D) remarks:
Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D): ….and let me also say that, uh, maybe it was fortuitous, or happenstance, but the chair of the, of the, uh, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the, and the, the office of the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus would end up next to each other, uh, this, the, during the last session of Congress. And, uh, Charlie Gonzalez and, and I worked well together. And our commitment, and we started out together, was that we were gonna make sure that we had, uh, the CBC, uh, the CHC on the same page, uh, on, on as many issues as possible. We probably have about a ninety-eight percent [inaudible] together. Uh, we, uh, and, and every member of the Congressional Black Caucus, every member, forty-four, supports the Dream Act. And we intend to… [applause] Uh, and we work well together.
Uh, and, uh, long before this current rush, uh, by some to talk about, uh, the need for an immigration bill this man [Representative Luis Gutierrez] was leading this issue for this nation. He was out front long before it was fashionable for some people. [applause] And I can tell you, Congressional Black Caucus, uh, when, when these issues come up, the person we look to, uh, to say, yeah, this is, this is a, uh, an issue that, uh, we then, all of us ought to together on, uh, Luis Gutierrez is gonna be the guy who, who provides the [inaudible]. He’s already, he, first of all, you can’t come to the Congressional Black Caucus meeting.
Uh, uh, I mention that because we have had, uh,the congressman, here, with us, uh, at a Congressional Black Caucus and everyone, we respect him, we know that he is, uh, the, the person who has the courage, courage. And if I had a word for Luis, uh, it would be courage.
I was in the White House, uh, meeting with the President. And, uh, yes [inaudible][laughter]. I’m at the White House, meeting with the President. Valerie Jarret comes in and she says, uh, comes to him, Luis Gutierrez has just handcuffed himself to the White House fence. [laughter] And I was trying everything to keep from cracking up, but, uh, ’cause the President was not happy and [laughter], so I’m trying to do everything I can to, uh, keep a straight face. [laughter] Uh, but he did. He had. He did, he did indeed do that. And when I say courage, uh, what the point he was trying to make is, look, uh, we’re moving too slow. We’re moving too slow. And there’s no such thing as it takes time. The people who say it takes time are the people who’s rights are not in question. [voices: “Um, hmm.” “Right.”] And so, uh, in African American’s [inaudible] we heard that same thing, they’re moving too fast.
Uh, I’ll never forget Billy Graham saying, uh, you know, they, they’re moving too fast. And, my thought is, and this is a little dumb kid, was, well he doesn’t say that when he’s preaching. He doesn’t tell people, I, I want you to come to Jesus, but, take your time. [laughter]
And so, uh, this is an issue we need to deal with. Uh, the black and brown coalition is remaining together. We’re going to remain together and we’re gonna work together, we’re gonna get change together. Uh, it makes absolutely no sense, uh, for the two largest minority groups in this community to be divided. And we will not be. [applause]