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Front view of the Capitol

Congresswoman Cori Bush Honors St. Louis Trailblazers and Black Leaders Hazel Erby, Betty Thompson & Dr. Henry Givens, Jr.

July 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) commemorated former St. Louis County council member Hazel Erby, former Missouri State Representative Betty L. Thompson, and longtime Harris-Stowe State University President Dr. Henry Givens, Jr. with a speech on the House floor and entries into the Congressional Record, honoring their immense contributions to the St. Louis region, and civil rights and education across the country.


Congresswoman Cori Bush honors St. Louis trailblazers with a speech on the House floor, accompanied by a poster.


Below are the Congresswoman’s remarks as prepared:

“Madame Speaker, St. Louis and I rise today with heavy hearts.

“Since the beginning of July, we have lost 3 civil rights giants in our community: Ms. Hazel Erby, Ms. Betty Thompson, and Dr. Henry Givens, Jr.

“Mama Hazel and Mama Betty were trailblazers — breaking down barriers for Black women and all Black people to be leaders in St. Louis and beyond. I would not be Missouri’s first Black Congresswoman without the doors they opened up for me.

“Dr. Henry Givens, Jr. led Harris-Stowe State University for 32 years. His leadership transformed Harris-Stowe, the university I attended, from a small college with just one building into the nationally acclaimed HBCU that it is today.

“We will miss them dearly, but together, St. Louis strong, we will carry their work forward to build a more just future for all of us. Thank you.”

The commemoration for Hazel Erby can be viewed here.
The commemoration for Betty Thompson can be viewed
The commemoration for Dr. Henry Givens, Jr. can be viewed

Last month, Thompson awarded Congresswoman Bush the Betty L. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award. Photos of the presentation of the award are available for download here.


Congresswoman Cori Bush represents Missouri’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She is also a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a proud member of the Congressional Black Caucus. She is a registered nurse, single mother, and an ordained pastor. Following the murder of Michael Brown Jr. by a now-terminated Ferguson police officer, she became a civil rights activist and community organizer fighting for justice for Black lives on the streets of Missouri and across the country.