Congresswoman Barbara Lee Celebrates Black History Month

Washington, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement in honor of Black History Month:

Today we mark the beginning of Black History Month.  Each year, we take this time to honor the significant contributions that African Americans have made to our nation, in the face of overwhelming odds. It is particularly a time when we reflect on the sacrifices of our great African American heroes and sheroes who dedicated their lives in the fight for civil rights, social and economic justice for all.

However, this is not just a time to acknowledge our rich history. If we are to honor the true purpose of Black History Month, we must continue the work to lift up the Black community, and dedicate ourselves as a nation to overcoming the systemic and institutional challenges that continue to affect African Americans.

African Americans still face disproportionate levels of poverty, and overwhelming struggles to achieve educational and economic opportunities.  Health disparities, including the highest rates of HIV infections, continue to impact African American communities, due to the lack of equal access to care and prevention resources. The unemployment rate for African Americans is still twice that of White Americans.

These challenges are real and remain due to the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and institutional racism that African Americans have endured for centuries.  Sadly, the Trump Administration has chosen to ignore that history and the needs of our community by promoting blatantly racist policies that will hurt progress.   Their continuous attempts to normalize racism are shameful and all Americans must stand against any attempt to roll back the clock.

Today, I am reminded of Dr. King’s words when he said an “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.  So this year, as we celebrate Black History Month, let us as a nation commit to rejecting hatred, bigotry and discrimination in all forms so that we might see this as more than a celebration, but a call to action for our nation to finally fulfill the full promise of equality and justice for all.