Speeches and Floor Statements

Rep. Roybal-Allard Celebrates Black History Month

Highlights Black History in the 40th Congressional District

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Washington, February 27, 2014 | Matthew Lee ((202) 225-1766) | comments

It is an honor to join millions of Americans in celebrating February as Black History Month.  It is also a privilege to represent the 40th Congressional District which includes the historically vibrant African American community of the Central Avenue corridor which today is being revitalized. The corridor is home to the Dunbar Hotel which hosted some of our nation’s leading jazz legends such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald in the 1930’s.

This year’s theme, “Civil Rights in America”, focuses on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This momentous civil rights law passed Congress a year after the historic march on Washington and Reverend Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The Act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, including barring discrimination in all facilities open to the public, thereby ending the Jim Crow era in our country.

Throughout February we pay tribute to the courageous African-American men and women who endured sacrifice and death to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act which changed our history and made America stronger for all of us. This includes icons such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, and the members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, the National Urban League and the Congress for Racial Equality.

Unfortunately, in June 2013, the Supreme Court issued a controversial 5-to-4 decision in the Shelby County vs. Holder case which severely weakens the Voting Rights Act.

This is a call to action.  We must all work together to ensure Congress strengthens the Voting Rights Act to protect a critical cornerstone of our democracy – the right of every citizen to vote.

As we celebrate Black History Month let us recommit ourselves to justice and equality and an America that fully lives up to its ideals and protects the right of every American to pursue the American Dream.


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