Peters Discusses Importance of Seeking Justice for Victims of Race-Related Murders in Hearing on Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board Nominations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today convened a virtual hearing on the nominations of Margaret Burnham, Gabrielle Dudley, Henry Klibanoff, and Brenda Stevenson to serve on the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board. These are the first nominations for the board, which was created by bipartisan legislation that was signed into law in 2019. The board reviews records from civil rights cases for public release – including race related murders and lynchings – that have gone unsolved for decades. Once confirmed, the nominees would allow the board to begin its important work. Former U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), who led the legislation that created the board, joined the hearing to introduce the nominees.

“Once confirmed, today’s nominees will begin the difficult, but important work of telling the victims’ stories and shedding light on this dark chapter of our nation’s history,” said Peters during his opening statement. “Although justice has been delayed for too long for too many of these cases, the board’s mission to investigate and release relevant records will help Americans living today, and for generations to come, uncover the truth of these terrible crimes and the racism that drove their perpetrators.”

To watch video of Senator Peters’ opening remarks, click here. For text of Peters’ opening remarks, as prepared, click here.

To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions, click here.

During the hearing, Peters highlighted the qualifications of the nominees and the importance of the board. The nominees also discussed their priorities and goals for the board, including helping to find answers for families and communities who have long struggled with the pain of unsolved civil rights cases.