New York, NY – Senator Gustavo Rivera released the following statement today in recognition of the 25th anniversary of Black History Month:
“For 25 years, Black History Month has given us an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans to our country’s history. The month of February is a time that we as adults remember important African-American leaders, activists, artists, writers and entrepreneurs, as well as a time that our children are introduced to these significant historical figures and the impact they have had on our society, our lives and our culture.
While we have made huge strides toward equality, there is still not a level playing field for African-American children who often grow up lacking the resources and opportunities they need to succeed. In my district, more than 40% of African-American children live in poverty, a troubling statistic that is tied to higher drop out rates and higher incarceration rates.
So as we celebrate how far we have come, let’s remember how far we have to go in order to provide all our children with the tools they need to get ahead. Let us recognize the need to invest heavily in education, to prioritize economic development projects that create good, well-paying jobs and to ensure that all of our children have access to quality healthcare.
This month, let us remember the need to reinvent our juvenile justice and corrections systems to focus on rehabilitation and community-based solutions so that we truly leave no one behind.”