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CAIR Applauds Historic New Maryland Law Authorizing Statewide Commission to Investigate History of Racial Lynchings

(Baltimore, MD, 4/23/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a new law that will create the nation’s first statewide truth commission tasked with investigating the history and legacy of racial terror lynchings in Maryland. 

SEE: Maryland Establishes First Statewide Commission on Racial Terror Lynchings

Sponsored by State Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, House Bill 307 received bipartisan support and is especially symbolic because it acknowledges that truth and reconciliation are sequential – requiring full knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of the truth before there can be meaningful reconciliation.

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The historic measure was signed into law at the conclusion of the Maryland General Assembly’s 2019 session last week by Governor Larry Hogan.

In a statement, Dr. Nicholas Creary, an assistant professor of history at Bowie State University who helped draft language for the bill, said partly:

“The Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission offers an opportunity to restore the humanity of both victims and perpetrators of violence. It will also provide a means to stop the silencing of African American communities that was an integral element of racial terror lynchings.”

“This critical fact-finding mission is necessary to understand and properly educate ourselves and each other on the dangerous sentiment that fueled such a hateful and inhumane practice in America,” said CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry, who testified before the House Judiciary Committee in February in support of the bill. “It’s impossible to have conversations about closure, forgiveness and justice until we know the full scope and extent of injustices that occurred.” 

The law authorizes the Office of the Attorney General to issue certain subpoenas; require the appointed Commission to hold public meetings in each county where a racially motivated lynching has been documented, in order to receive and make recommendations; and mandate the Commission to submit an interim and final report to the Governor and the General Assembly on designated dates.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CONTACT: CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry, zchaudry@cair.com410-971-6062

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