On Monday afternoon, State Rep. Tom Oliverson (R–Cypress) laid out House Bill 1057, a bill he authored “in memory of the more than 100 million people who died and countless others who suffered under communist regimes.”
The proposed legislation would make November 7 “Victims of Communism Day” in Texas.
When explaining his bill before the Texas House Culture, Recreation, & Tourism Committee, he demonstrated that while 100 million have died under communist regimes, Texas and the United States generally have done little to remember these tragedies. November 7 was recommended by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, being the day when the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, creating the first communist state.
Furthermore, Oliverson pointed out how Texas has a designated Holocaust Remembrance Week to ensure people never forget the horrors of fascism, adding that passing HB 1057 would make sure those who suffered under communism are treated with the same dignity.
Two witnesses testified in support of the bill. The first witness was Amber Williams, who knew someone abused by the communist government in China.
Williams expressed concerns that young people in America have been friendly toward Marxism, despite the horrors that resulted from the movement. She explained that she met a woman from China who was placed into forced labor under cruel conditions, all for practicing a religion that emphasized meditation and peace.
The second witness was Elena Tavakoli, from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Born and raised in communist Albania, she shared the story of the rise of its late dictator Enver Hoxha and her family’s suffering under his regime. She mentioned that her maternal grandfather was a successful attorney who, after refusing to give up his wealth, was jailed and later killed, his family being made to suffer with nothing.
After the testimonies, Oliverson again discussed how the United States makes sure people remember the Holocaust and the cruelty of fascism. He said Texas needs to make similar efforts to remember the horrors of communism. When questioned by other members of his committee, he explained the bill was part of a 50-state movement to remember the victims of communism.
This is not the first time Oliverson proposed designating November 7 as Victims of Communism Day. During the last session, Oliverson filed similar legislation, with then-Sen. Pat Fallon filing a companion bill in the Senate.