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October 31, 2022



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Brooklyn, NY — Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) released the following statement regarding the passing of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church’s longtime leader and Pastor, Dr. Calvin O. Butts III:

“On behalf of the people of the 9th District of New York, the Clarke family and myself, I would like to extend my most sincere condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of the late Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, as well as to the entire congregation of Abyssinian Baptist Church, each member of which he cherished so deeply and for so long. A lifelong educator, social advocate, and devoted disciple of our Lord, Dr. Butts faithfully and selflessly served New York communities for decades as a foundational pillar of the Harlem we know today,” said Congresswoman Clarke. ”Advocate, Cultivate, Demonstrate, Educate, Mediate: these are only a handful of words that come to mind when I reflect upon his remarkable legacy – one that was not one easily attained. It demanded decades of love for the underserved and a great passion for the people who followed him to achieve. From sponsoring housing developments to elevate Harlem communities through his beloved church, to providing enriching opportunities to untold students throughout his Presidency of SUNY Old Westbury, to his willingness to work behind the scenes as a mediator when a calm, intelligent voice was needed in vital discussions, Dr. Butts never failed or feared to confront the powerful to deliver progress. And though his legacy is impossible to replicate, and though our city is a colder place today, I believe Dr. Butts provided each of us the blueprint to build upon the path he started. And we must, so that generations to come may know the profound teachings of the good Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts III. My thoughts today are with Dr. Butts’s loved ones and all those who knew him best. And I pray he finds his endless peace, and may he know his eternal glory.”


Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Clarke is a Senior Member of both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Committee on Homeland Security, where she serves as Chair of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation Subcommittee.