Rep. Larry Womble, a longtime champion of eugenics victims, made an emotional return to the North Carolina General Assembly on May 22 to urge colleagues in the Judicial Committee towards a favorable recommendation on H974, the Eugenics Compensation Program bill.
“This has been an 11-year fight for me, but this is a proud day for North Carolina,” said Womble, who is still recovering from injuries suffered in a December car crash and was assisted by colleague Rep. Earline Parmon. “I’m beginning to see the light at the end of this journey. Join me and be on the right side of history.”
The motion was made jointly with Rep. Skip Stam to emphasize the bipartisan support the bill has earned. “We cannot fix what happened in the past. We cannot fix their bodies, but we can pay compensation,” Stam said. “Let’s fix it and get it over with.”
While the voice vote included at least two no votes, the measure passed with a favorable report to the Finance Committee.
Charmaine Fuller Cooper, Executive Director of the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, said victims and advocates expressed relief that the measure has passed its first legislative hurdle.
“This was a huge step but we have many more to take to pass the compensation package for victims in North Carolina,” Fuller Cooper said. “The legislature has put aside politics to both show future generations the horror of what happened in North Carolina and to prevent it from happening again.”
Video of the session was streamed live by WRAL and may be viewed at www.WRAL.com/11126639.
The Sterilization Victims Foundation continues to assist individuals who believe that they or someone they know may have been affected by the N.C. Eugenics Boards program. For information, call toll-free hotline 877-550-6013 (or 919-807-4270) for information, or visit its website: www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov.
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