Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will deliver remarks at the Congressional Black Caucus 40th Anniversary Reception this evening in Statuary Hall. Below are the Leader's remarks as prepared for delivery:
"I would like to acknowledge Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, and Chairman of the CBC Institute, Bennie Thompson.
"I would also like to acknowledge two founding CBC Members still serving in Congress: Congressman John Conyers Jr. and Congressman Charles Rangel. Other founding Members include Congressman Ronald Dellums, Congressman Louis Stokes, and Delegate Walter Fauntroy.
"Forty years ago, the Congressional Black Caucus formed to advocate an agenda of opportunity for all; to offer a voice to the voiceless, regardless of race, ethnicity, or creed; to advance the cause of equality, our nation's heritage and our hope.
"For 40 years, when others refused to stand for justice, the CBC stood tall for the rights of every American; when the torch of progress looked likely to fade, the CBC carried it forward.
"For 40 years, the CBC has promoted policies that open the doors to the core components of our country's success and prosperity: good jobs for our workers; strong schools for our students; safe neighborhoods for our children; and a fair shot for families and entrepreneurs of every background.
"America is stronger for your work, your vision, your passion and persistence.
"With your leadership, we have extended voting rights and fought discrimination in the workplace; we led the charge to end Apartheid in South Africa and honored Martin Luther King Jr. with a national holiday.
"Most recently, we made health insurance a right, not a privilege, and worked to end health disparities. We made our largest-ever investment in college aid, including billions to HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions.
"We acted to create jobs, strengthen African-American-owned small businesses, and reform and rebuild our schools.
"In so many areas, we have overcome decades of bigotry and inequality, and opened the door to a future of brotherhood and partnership.
"Our work is not done; our dreams are not yet fully realized -- in education, in health care, in our economy. But we have made progress.
"With the CBC's leadership, the arc of our nation's history has bent even further toward justice.
"And in all the CBC does -- building on 40 years of accomplishments and pledging decades more of achievement -- you have been, and will remain, the "conscience of the Congress.'"