|Congressman Alcee L. Hastings made the following statement on the House floor on October 12, 2011, honoring the life of Mrs. Emma Bates:
M. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute and honor the memory of Emma Bates from Riviera Beach, Florida. Mrs. Bates passed away on October 9, 2011, following a year-long battle with stomach cancer. Previously, she had beaten both breast and colon cancer, attesting to the strength and perseverance that drove Mrs. Bates' throughout her life.
Mrs. Bates moved from her native Baxley, Georgia to the Glades area in Florida as a child. She graduated from Roosevelt High School in West Palm Beach. After graduation, she enrolled in several business management courses at what is now known as Palm Beach State College and later found an interest in cosmetology. It was not long until she opened her own hair salon, the Intimate Salon of Beauty in Riviera Beach. Mrs. Bates was believed to have been the first licensed African-American beautician in Palm Beach County.
She was known by many in the community as an activist who worked tirelessly for what she believed was right and in the best interest of the Riviera Beach community. She served as the chairwoman of the Citizens Task Force and was a campaign manager for multiple candidates, including a successful campaign for City Council in 2007.
Mrs. Bates was a woman who was truly loved by her community and worked hard for what she believed in. I am deeply saddened by her passing, which is more than a personal loss, but also a loss for the community that she fought for and inspired. Her selfless efforts will continue to be felt for many years to come.
M. Speaker, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Mrs. Bates' family and friends during this most difficult time. Her memory will live on and she will be dearly missed.