Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today released the following statement on Black History Month, which is observed in February.
"Every year, Americans honor the invaluable achievements and contributions of African-Americans during the month of February. Black History Month is a reminder that our nation's diversity is among its greatest strengths.
"I am proud that the city of Galesburg in my Congressional District was a stop along the Underground Railroad and home to the first anti-slavery society in Illinois. The fact that Senator Barack Obama, the pride of our great state, now has the opportunity to become the first African-American President is a fitting tribute to all those who paved the way for his candidacy.
"America has come a long way since the days of the Underground Railroadembracing civil rights under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1950's and 60's and most recently renewing the Voting Rights Act in 2006 to ensure every African-American is fully enfranchised under the law.
"But we still have so much more to accomplish. Too many Americans are living in poverty, a disproportionate number of them African-American. Good paying jobs and affordable health care are moving further out of reach. And our education and justice systems too often treat blacks differently than whites. As Black History Month comes to an end, we should recommit ourselves to achieving equality and justice for all Americans 365 days a year."