WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA-02) issued the following statement on today's posthumous awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to the four victims killed at Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. Fattah was a co-sponsor H.R. 360, the bill to bestow the honor on Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley:
"Today, nearly 50 years to the day since the bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church, we remember and honor four innocent lives stolen by an unthinkable act of prejudice and evil.
"These young girls were taken from us before they could realize their own dreams, but they are heroes to our nation now. Their sacrifice rallied our country, helping to lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"The Congressional Gold Medal celebrates courage and achievements that have had a profound impact on the trajectory of our country. Now, the 'Four Little Girls,' deservedly join the ranks of America's greatest civil rights leaders in receiving this high honor.
"I have visited the church where this atrocity happened, and paid tribute to their lost lives. Today the entire nation joins in commemorating them and their immense sacrifice, for helping to make us a more equal, more just United States."
SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah