Sarbanes Message on Black History Month [Video]

February 5, 2021
CONTACT: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today released the following message to commemorate Black History Month. See below for the video, along with a transcript.

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“Greetings, everyone. This is Congressman Sarbanes.

“I want to join you in celebrating Black History Month here in the month of February – very important opportunity to lift up the contributions of African Americans to American society and to American history, certainly.

“Obviously, we are in a difficult moment in our nation with the COVID-19 virus continuing to spread, the pandemic, which has put tremendous pressure on families across this country and the economic fallout that we feel. And we know that it is disproportionately impacting communities of color across this nation and we have to make it a priority to make sure there is equity in the way vaccines are distributed, testing is done and cures are pursued. And that is critical to the work that we are doing in Washington.

“We also remember the challenges of last year that set us on a new course, hopefully, when it comes to addressing racial injustice in this country. The terrible deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others, whose families have been left grieving, put us in a position where we have to meet this challenge of addressing racial injustice – looking at the embedded discrimination that we continue to find in law enforcement organizations across the country and doing what has to be done to address that challenge and overcome it. And that also is at the center of the work that we are doing.

“In this month, of course, we remember heroes like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and John Lewis, my late colleague, who passed away last year. This is the first February in a long time that we won’t celebrate – with John Lewis – Black History Month.

“And his inspiration when it came to voting rights is undeniable. It is at the center of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which is this large transformational bill to fight back on corruption, fix our politics and lift up the voices of everyday Americans across the country. John Lewis fought for voting rights for all people his entire life. And if we can pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act, it will be a tribute to his life and his work.

“But we also have H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which we have named for John Lewis, which would restore the protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. We have H.R. 51, that would establish D.C. statehood and lift up the residents of the District of Columbia, who right now have unequal access to our democracy. All of these critical reforms are important to level the playing field in America, to expand our democracy and make sure that all voices are heard.

“So, as we celebrate Black History Month, we lift up our heroes, we lift up these key pieces of legislation and other efforts that we are undertaking here in Washington to make a difference in the lives of people all across our country.

“Thank you for joining in this celebration of the accomplishments, the achievements, the history of lifting up this nation on the part of the African-American community. Thank you.”