ADL’s Southwest Region mourns the passing of James Byrd, Sr., father of James Byrd, Jr., an African American man who was dragged to death behind a truck in 1998 in one of the most heinous hate crimes in Texas.
Led by Byrd, Jr.’s parents, Stella and James Byrd, Sr., the family’s appeals for reason and calm and their deliberate quest for justice showed the world how to react to an unthinkable crime with grace and calm.
“We believe James Byrd, Sr. and Stella Byrd’s handling of the aftermath of their son’s horrible murder–a murder met with understandable anger by many in Jasper, in Texas, and around the world—kept the world from reacting violently,” said Mark B. Toubin, ADL Regional Director. “The family’s public calls for peace and their confidence that his perpetrators would be brought to justice ratcheted down tensions and helped keep things under control. We send our condolences to the Byrd family for the loss of their father, a true role model and example of how to face adversity with dignity.”
The family has worked tirelessly to fight hate and hate crimes since James Byrd, Jr.’s murder, creating the Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing at www.thebyrdfoundation.org. Their testimony before the Texas legislature and before Congress led to the passage of Texas’ James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Law, and the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd., Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
For more information or to set up an interview, call Dena Marks at 832-567-8843.