From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Celebrates Black History Month

February 2, 2004

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today in honor of Black History Month:

"During Black History Month, we celebrate the contributions of African Americans and remember not just our heroes such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass, but also the extraordinary lives of ordinary people who helped build our great nation.

"African Americans continue to contribute to our nation and to make enormous strides, despite having to overcome unspeakable hardship and indefensible prejudice throughout history. With the indomitable spirit of Dr. Dorothy Height, president emeritus of the National Council of Negro Women, and new leaders such as Marc Morial at the National Urban League, African Americans are making progress. More African American families have joined the middle class and the number of black businesses is increasing.

"In spite of this progress, we have a long way to go. This year, we will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education that declared what we all knew to be true: "In the field of public education the doctrine of separate but equal has no place." Yet today, 50 years later, many poor and minority children are concentrated in schools that fail to meet their needs.

"President Bush and the Republicans have promised, with great fanfare, to 'Leave No Child Behind.' But when it comes to keeping those promises, they take a recess from responsibility and leave millions of children behind. The funding bill the Republicans passed this year falls a staggering $8 billion below what was promised in the No Child Left Behind bill, and it only funds a small portion of what was promised for Title I, the program that helps at-risk students master the basics. As happens all too often, black and minority children will feel the impact most strongly.

"That is simply not acceptable. As the Supreme Court knew in 1954, every child deserves the best education this great country can provide.

"As we celebrate Black History Month, let us also recommit ourselves to building a better future, beginning with the best education for all our children."




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