DFER National President Shavar Jeffries Honors Black History Month

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February 1, 2017



DFER National President Shavar Jeffries Statement Honoring Black History Month

Washington, DC –Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) National President Shavar Jeffries today released the following statement honoring Black History Month:

“Black History Month is a time to reflect upon and celebrate the many contributions and sacrifices of African Americans. The history of African Americans is the history of America, and in many ways the history of African Americans is the history of America’s still unfulfilled quest to be true to its grandest aspirations of liberty and justice for all, basic human guarantees that were denied to Black people in this nation for far too long.

“Educational opportunity was, and is still, at the center of efforts to expand or deny opportunity to Black people. It was illegal in many states to teach slaves how to read, and after emancipation, our schools for several decades were legally segregated by race.  Today, educational opportunity remains unevenly distributed: Too many children or color, for no reason other than the socioeconomic circumstances of their birth, still are denied the foundational right to obtain an education that activates the inherent genius that resides within them.

“Black History Month is thus not only a time for reflection on the past, but is a call for action in the present. The history of Black folks reminds us that no challenge is too great, and no obstacle is too daunting, to be faced down with courage and conviction.  We face modern-day challenges of racism, injustice and bigotry, and as has been historically true, some of the nation’s most prominent political authorities give sanction, both explicit and tacit, to racial and ethnic stereotypes that assault the dignity of communities of color. But we’ve been here before. The same faith, resolve, and perseverance that enabled Black folks to overcome the transatlantic slave trade, New World slavery, and a century of Jim Crow apartheid, are the same capacities that will enable communities of color to overcome present-day challenges that for some, at times, can seem too much to bear.  If we learn nothing else from Black History Month, it should be that the future belongs to those who pursue justice–and that, over the long haul, justice prevails.”


Contact: Takirra Winfield Dixon — takirra@dfer.org, 202-854-9624