Washington, DC — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today to mark the beginning of Black History Month:
“This month, as every February, we mark the many contributions African Americans have made and continue to make to our country. We remember how African Americans battled and gave their lives to ensure this nation made good on its promises of liberty and equality. And we reflect on the lives of extraordinary African Americans who have selflessly and tirelessly worked to improve the lives of all Americans. Because of their efforts, our nation is free and we are richer as a society.
“As we honor Black history and remember how far we’ve advanced, we must also continue to work on behalf of those in the African-American community who have been left behind. Our current economic struggles hurt all Americans, but hurt African Americans particularly hard. African Americans are unemployed at nearly twice the national average, nearly twice as many African Americans as whites lack health insurance, and like many others, African American families struggling with challenges resulting from the mortgage crisis.
“This month, Congress will take steps to stimulate the economy and ease the financial burden for all Americans, including African Americans. We hope to pass legislation that will create more jobs, provide rebates to seniors and veterans, and extend benefits for the unemployed.
“Our celebrations and commemorations will take their place not only in African American history, but in the history of our country. And so too must we rededicate ourselves to improving the lives of not just African Americans but Americans of every race, religion and ethnicity.”