The Black History Month 2016 Proclamation of President Barack Obama captures with sincerity and passion a belief in equality of rights and justice, as well as a challenge to all to recommit to the principle of human dignity.
President Barack Obama pointed out that we still have many challenges and obstacles to overcome:
“The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners — a disproportionate number of whom are African American — so we must find ways to reform our criminal justice system and ensure that it is fairer and more effective. While we’ve seen unemployment rates decrease, many communities, particularly those of color, continue to experience significant gaps in educational and employment opportunities, causing too many young men and women to feel like no matter how hard they try, they may never achieve their dreams. Our responsibility as citizens is to address the inequalities and injustices that linger, and we must secure our birthright freedoms for all people.”
This year African American History Month’s theme is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.”
Black history and labor history in America are often entwined. People often forget why Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis in August 1964: He was supporting workers in a strike. After his death, his wife, Coretta Scott King, became the face of organizing efforts for nurses throughout the East. The union locals she helped organize are now our brothers and sisters in SEIU.
SEIU 521 celebrates Black History Month each year and embraces black history always through AFRAM, the African-American Caucus within SEIU Local 521.