McCollum Statement Commemorating 2021 Black History Month
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) released the following statement today in recognition of Black History Month:
“Every February we commemorate Black History Month to honor all of the great contributions by Black Americans, whose art, experiences, and stories enrich the fabric of what it means to be an American. Here in the Fourth District, we reflect on the historic Rondo neighborhood, a vibrant and thriving African American community in the heart of St. Paul which was cast aside and destroyed for the construction of a highway – an example of structural inequality that still impacts our communities throughout the United States today.
“This year, Black History Month comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a devastating and disproportionate toll on communities of color, impacting the health and economic stability of Black families across America. Last summer, the murder of George Floyd opened our eyes to all of the inequalities that still exist in our justice system. On January 6 in Washington D.C., we saw white supremacist terrorists with Confederate flags attack our nation’s democracy. The fight for justice continues through the work of the Black leaders and allies, organizers, and advocates championing equality and opportunity for all our communities.
“This month is also an opportunity to celebrate. As a nation, we were inspired by Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, who witnessed with all of us the historic inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris – the first woman elected Vice President and the highest-ranking Black woman to hold office in the U.S.
“As we remember and reflect on the lives and legacies of esteemed civil rights champions we lost last year, the Rev. C.T. Vivian and my colleague Congressman John Lewis, let us together heed the call to make ‘good trouble’ to redeem the soul of America. Working with the Biden-Harris administration, I will continue to advance civil liberties, expand voting rights, improve access to health care, boost educational opportunities, and build an economy that works for everyone. This is a time for all of us to confront the cruel injustice of slavery as an undeniable chapter in our nation’s story, and to recommit to rooting out the lasting harm inflicted by systemic racism today. A brighter tomorrow is possible when we remember the past and ensure its lessons inform our future. James Baldwin said it best: ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.’”