During a memorial service Tuesday for the late singer Michael Jackson, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, stood before a packed Staples Center in Los Angeles with millions more watching on television and unveiled a bill that would honor Michael Jackson the humanitarian.
Jackson Lee, one of the few Seventh-day Adventists serving on Capitol Hill, attended the memorial on behalf of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Congressional Black Caucus, she said. She elicited loud applause from the audience when she remarked that people are “innocent until proven otherwise” according to the United States Constitution, a clear reference to allegations leveled against Michael Jackson during his lifetime.
Jackson Lee noted that many fail to recognize how entertainers “heal the world on behalf of America,” and likened Michael Jackson to the Good Samaritan in a speech laced with numerous scriptural allusions.
Concluding her eight minutes of remarks about the humanitarian works of Michael Jackson, the congresswoman held up a framed copy of Resolution 600, which claims Michael Jackson as an “American legend and musical icon.”
Watch Jackson Lee’s remarks:
The lengthy resolution (over 1,500 words with 44 “whereas” clauses) recites Jackson’s many humanitarian efforts and resolves that the House of Representatives-
(1) recognizes Michael Jackson as a global humanitarian and a noted leader in the fight against worldwide hunger and medical crises;
(2) celebrates Michael Jackson as an accomplished contributor to the worlds of arts and entertainment, scientific advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and global food security
The resolution’s unveiling during Jackson’s memorial will undoubtedly garner public support, but Resolution 600 faces numerous challenges in the House.
With extremely weighty measures including health care and climate change legislation currently occupying Congress members’ time, honoring Michael Jackson will be a low priority for many. Further complicating matters, Washington insiders speculate that the measure will not garner the necessary 2/3rds to pass, and Republican members of the House, most notably Peter King of New York, have publicly denounced Michael Jackson.
Nevertheless, Jackson Lee vows to press House members to pass the measure ensuring that America will remember and revere Michael Jackson as a humanitarian, a legend, and an icon.