Rep. Mondaire Jones Introduce Bill to Create Stamp to Commemorate Bayard Rustin
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY) introduced a bill to create a United States Postal Service (USPS) stamp commemorating civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, coinciding with the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and the anniversary of Rustin’s death.
“Bayard Rustin was a leader in the movement for civil rights and a champion for LGBTQ+ justice,” said Congressman Jones. “But for far too long, he has been denied the recognition he deserves. Bayard’s example, as an openly gay, Black man, taught me and countless others the power of living as your authentic self and fighting for justice. I’m proud to introduce the Bayard Rustin Forever Stamp Act to commemorate his leadership and his lifelong commitment to advancing civil rights.”
“Bayard Rustin, whose leadership deserves special recognition by our country, was a key figure in the civil rights movement,” said Norton. “Rustin masterminded the 1963 March on Washington, successfully showing that his lifelong adherence to the nonviolent struggle for equal rights could be put to use in real time with the largest demonstration in U.S. history at that time in the nation’s capital. Our bill would create a commemorative stamp in his honor, a fitting tribute to one of the architects of the American civil rights movement.”
“Bayard Rustin’s valuable contributions to our nation’s civil rights movement and LGBTQ community pushed our country forward and advanced equality and justice for all. This bill would create a commemorative stamp that would honor his legacy and ensure that all Americans are aware of his commitment to civil rights. I’m proud to join Congresswoman Holmes Norton and Congressman Jones in pushing this bill and look forward to its advancement in Congress,” said Rep. Torres.
Born March 17, 1912, Bayard Rustin became one of the most important leaders in the 20th century civil rights movement. Rustin was an advisor in Martin Luther King Jr.’s inner circle as King advocated pacifism and nonviolence for achieving equal treatment for African Americans.
His most notable role was as the chief organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington, the largest demonstration ever organized at the time, in which a quarter of a million people turned out to demand civil rights for African Americans.
Mondaire Jones is the 34-year-old Congressman from New York’s 17th District, serving Westchester and Rockland Counties. He serves on the House Judiciary, Education and Labor, and Ethics Committees and is the first openly gay, Black member of Congress. A product of East Ramapo public schools, Mondaire was raised in Section 8 housing and on food stamps in the Village of Spring Valley by a single mother who worked multiple jobs to provide for their family. He later graduated from Stanford University, worked at the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration, and graduated from Harvard Law School. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit Rising Leaders, Inc. and has previously served on the NAACP’s National Board of Directors and on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Most recently, Mondaire worked as a litigator in the Westchester County Law Department. In November, Mondaire was unanimously elected by his colleagues to be the Freshman Representative to Leadership, making him the youngest member of the Democratic House leadership team. In December, Jones was appointed a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and became a Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. Mondaire was born and raised in Rockland, and resides in Westchester.