Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released a video message today marking Black History Month, which is recognized during the month of February. Below is a transcript and a link to the video.
Click here to watch the video.
"I am always pleased to celebrate Black History Month, because it looks back on the extraordinary contributions that have been made by African Americans through the years. African Americans who overcame slavery and apartheid in America. African Americans who loved their country notwithstanding the awful things that were done to them in this country. African Americans who fought in our wars - the Revolutionary War being one of those wars. African Americans who have made an extraordinary contribution to making America what it is today.
"I've had the opportunity of walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis. He walked across that bridge in March of 1965 on his way to Montgomery with 599 other people with the sole purpose of registering to vote. Alabama Troopers stopped him in 1965, and the brutality that occurred on that day led almost directly to the passage of the Voting Rights Act just a few months later. American history was changed that day by African Americans, not just for African Americans, but for all Americans.
"The vote is sacrosanct in our democracy. We now have in the Congress of the United States, a bill, called the Voting Rights Act Amendment bill, which seeks to ensure that the Supreme Court case that was just recently handed down does not undermine Americans' right to vote, to register, and to be counted.
"We also in this quest need to understand that while voting is critically important and a basic right of an American, we also need to make sure that Americans have an economic opportunity, that they have a wage which they can live on, that they have access to affordable, quality health care. We need to make sure that immigrants, who have always made an extraordinary contribution to this country, will continue to have access to coming into this country and to being full parts of our economy.
"If we're going to make it in America, it will be because we treat one another equally, with respect, and with inclusion. I am so pleased to celebrate Black History Month this February 2014, as I have for the last 33 years, with the Black History Breakfast that I have celebrated with African American leaders in Prince George's County and in the 5th Congressional District [of Maryland] - the extraordinary contributions made by African Americans."