McSweeney unites House to pass resolution denouncing racist groups
In response to the racial violence that left one person dead in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, Illinois lawmakers have passed a House resolution condemning white supremacists.
HR569, a bipartisan measure presented to the chamber by Rep. Elgie Sims Jr. (D-Chicago), denounces neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists and any group whose purpose is to spread hate and racist ideology.
“You are not welcomed in this state,” Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) said. “We have to stand unified on this point. The act of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville ... can never happen again. For the love of God, vote 'yes' on this resolution.”
McSweeney is a co-sponsor of the resolution, which specifically identifies the Charlottesville incident as an act of domestic terrorism. James Alex Fields Jr., 20, an Ohio man affiliated with white supremacy, drove a car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring at least 19 others. Fields has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder and three counts of malicious wounding. The tragedy triggered what many considered to be a much-needed discussion on hate, racism and terrorism.
McSweeney said that people like Fields, who choose to spread their malevolent hate and stir unrest, have no place in a state with deep ties to civil rights, like Illinois.
“One of the greatest honors we all have is that Abraham Lincoln once served this body," he said. "Abraham Lincoln: The man who not only helped end slavery but the man who unified our country. Another great Republican, (U.S. Sen.) Everett Dirksen, was crucial in 1964 in passing the Civil Rights Act. So, I stand here as an Illinois Republican today, and with no ambiguity, no talk about moral equivalences, I say the following: ‘White supremacists, neo-Nazis, racists, Ku Klux Klan members: You are cowards, and we condemn you.’”
Adhering to the resolution's message of unity, Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) requested that every member of the House be added as a co-sponsor to HR569. The request was accepted and HR569 passed unanimously 105-0.