SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s executive action to designate a national monument at three sites in honor of Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley — both of whom served as catalysts for the Civil Rights Movement:
“On a sweltering day last April in Jackson, Mississippi, I had the gift of time – and the gift of company – to visit the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley exhibit at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum with the Mayor of Jackson and his family. With my children by my side, we witnessed the horrors of Emmett Till’s lynching and learned of the legacy Emmett continues to leave.
“Nothing would prepare me for the faces of my children as we walked through the exhibit: passing images of Emmett’s horrific mutilation, photographs of his mother weeping over his unrecognizable body, and seeing the bullet-ridden sign that once stood to mark where his body was found.
“As my 7, 10, 12, and 13-year-olds learned about what happened to 14-year-old Emmett, I learned why every child must learn this history, too. Children like mine will never have to experience the depths of dehumanization and racial violence that Emmett, his family, and Black Americans continue to experience today.
“There are too many leaders in our country right now who want to brush this — and so many other horrific pieces of our history — under the rug. They lead an ideological crusade to silence our diverse communities and whitewash the truth. President Biden’s establishment of this national monument is an important step toward healing and a visual reminder to us all that we cannot turn our backs and deny or rewrite our past.
“Our nation must fully understand the impacts of our history on the present day to be able to heal and progress. Today is a step toward that. The truth stands tall — just as the life and legacy of Emmett Till always will.”
Members of the First Family at the Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley Exhibit within the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum