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Chairman Cleaver’s Statement Celebrating Black History Month

Washington, DC – Today [February 1, 2012], Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II released the following statement in honor of Black History Month:

“Since the formal inception of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971, the thirteen founders introduced and sponsored legislation on a range of issues, including voting rights, employment, education, health care, and foreign policy. The members of the Congressional Black Caucus have advanced black political interests in the United States for more than forty years. There is no time more relevant to commemorate our advancement than the month that celebrates the meaningful roles African Americans have played and continue to play in shaping our great history as a nation—Black History Month.

"To this day, the CBC continues to serve as the 'Conscience of the Congress' by breaking barriers, shattering glass ceilings, and providing a voice to the voiceless on issues most important to the American people. While we have come far as a Caucus and nation, too many African Americans still face obstacles that hinder our ability to close the opportunity gap. CBC Members have seen first-hand the desperate need for job creation through our For the People Jobs Initiative; where tens of thousands of our constituents stood in line for hours to apply for jobs. Our constituents want to work; they need to work. As legislators and as a Caucus, we are doing all we can –introducing H. Res. 348 as well as over fifty pieces of legislation to ensure job creation.

"The CBC remains committed to working with Congress and the President to responsibly reduce the deficit, while safeguarding the progress that we have made in the job market by investing in our future. As we reflect, celebrate, and honor Black History Month as a nation, we must keep in mind that we have miles to go and cannot rest until every child has equal access to pursue the American Dream."

-          Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II


Hastings Celebrates Black History Month

(Washington, DC) Today [February 1, 2012], Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement in commemoration of Black History Month, which is observed each February to educate and highlight the remarkable contributions of the African Diaspora to the arts, sciences, humanities, military, and politics:

“Today, I am proud to join the nation in celebrating Black History Month to honor the people of African descent whom had the courage to guide our Nation’s enduring struggle to create a more perfect Union.  This year’s theme, ‘Black Women in American Culture and History,’ calls upon us to honor the myriad of critical roles that Black women have undertaken throughout our nation’s history.

“Black women have played key roles in some of the most famous events in American history to destroy slavery and install universal freedom in the United States. From Harriet Tubman who dedicated her life to rescue slaves from the Underground Railroad, to Rosa Parks who is referred to as ‘the first lady of civil rights’ and ‘the mother of the freedom movement’ because of her tenacity during the Civil Rights Movement to overcome racial segregation.  Black Americans have shaped America and made us the great nation that we are today.  It is in this spirit of deep appreciation and admiration that I introduced H.R. 1815, the Lena Horne Recognition Act, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the late Lena Horne for her outstanding contributions to American culture and the Civil Rights Movement.  After much hard work, this legislation has reached the threshold of support necessary to be considered on the House floor.  I hope to see it soon passed by the House, and subsequently the Senate, so that we may honor the life and legacy of Lena Horne at last.

“While changes in discriminatory laws and practices have increased economic, and educational opportunities for minorities in the United States, vast socioeconomic disparities continue to exist.  Although the recent economic downturn had devastating effects on individuals from all backgrounds, African-Americans have been hit particularly hard.  This disparity was highlighted in the Department of Labor’s December 2011 Jobs Report, which showed the national unemployment rate falling from 8.7 percent to 8.5 percent between November and December, while the unemployment rate for African-Americans remained much higher and actually increased during the same period from 15.5 percent to 15.8 percent.

“As we celebrate Black History Month, it allows us to reflect upon how far we have come, and what more we need to accomplish to revitalize the American Dream, in order to create more opportunity and social mobility for all Americans.  It also is an opportunity to foster education and understanding among people of differing backgrounds.  For these reasons, I am extremely proud to commemorate Black History Month and encourage all of my colleagues in the House of Representatives to do so as well.”

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.


Gwen Moore Celebrates Black History Month


Washington, D.C. – Today [February 1, 2012], Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-4) released the following statement in recognition of Black History Month.

“Since 1926, Americans have recognized black history annually, first as ‘Negro History Week’ and later as Black History Month. Every February, we come together as a nation to reflect on the many contributions of African Americans in this country and throughout the world.

“Black history is American history. From the beautiful poetry of Langston Hughes, to the fortitude of Ida B. Wells, to the sweet sounds of Stevie Wonder, to local Wisconsin trailblazers like Vel Phillips and Reuben K. Harpole, Jr. – black history has and continues to be intricately woven into the fabric of our nation.

“As we celebrate Black History Month, it is important that we also honor Dr. Carter G. Woodson who had the vision for the celebration of black history, and more importantly for the study of black history. Without his efforts, black history wouldn’t have even been documented so that we might pass on this invaluable knowledge.

“Additionally, it is important that during this Black History Month that we rededicate ourselves to addressing the issues that disproportionately affect communities of color such as high unemployment, access to affordable health care, access to quality education, and poverty.

“Throughout the month of February and beyond I encourage all people, in my district and across this country, to learn about the many and varied contributions of African Americans to the growth and betterment of our nation.



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Barbara Lee Releases Statement in Honor of Black History Month 2012

Washington, D.C.  –  Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) issued the following statement to commemorate Black History Month:
“The celebration of Black History Month has grown from a week established by Dr. Carter Woodson in 1926, to a month-long opportunity to reflect on the many contributions African Americans have made and to recognize the important role African Americans hold in every facet of American life.  Black History Month honors the generations of African-Americans who fought against slavery, prejudice, poverty, and discrimination and reminds us of the push we must make in honor of their struggle to build on their legacy and continue to break down obstacles to liberty and justice for all.   

“The many victories won by the civil rights movement and the progress our society has made in facing issues of ongoing racial inequality have afforded me the humbling privilege to serve as the 100th African American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.  The sacrifices made by Black heroes and sheroes, in spite of the odds, have been highlighted by the historic election of President Barack Obama.  However, our nation still must address the many structural inequalities that have left far too many African Americans behind.  Simply put, race is a factor in the growing economic inequalities we have in this country, and we can no longer afford to sweep this issue under the rug.  We must come together now to enact bold programs and policies that provide equal opportunity and equal access for every single American, leaving no one behind. 

“I have always believed that discrimination and racism are un-American. If we aspire to make America the country we know it can be, we must ensure that the policies we enact uphold the principles we espouse. Black History Month reminds us to continue to move forward for justice and equality. We continue to hold that this annual time of appreciation and reflection should be a uniting call to our nation to continue to work for a more perfect union.”


Follow Barbara Lee on Twitter @RepBarbaraLee  








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