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Hoyer Speaks at Black History Month Breakfast

Make It In America

Congressman Steny H. Hoyer celebrated Black History Month by attending the 36th annual Black History Month breakfast early in February. The congressman was joined by keynote speaker Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, as well as Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, Congressman Anthony Brown, and hundreds of constituents and community leaders from Maryland’s 5th District.

Congressman Hoyer spoke to the audience about the current uncertain, uneasy state of the country. He said many citizens are uncertain about the future and feel that the very foundations of American seem shaky. The country is currently battling to ensure every citizen has the right to vote, the right to equality, and the right of fairness in our judicial system. Much of the progress that the country has made has recently been called into question, he said.

“In no area is this more pronounced than the field of education. The theme of this year’s Black History breakfast is, of course, ‘The Challenges in Black Education and Opportunities in America.’ Education and opportunities. The two go hand-in-hand,” he said. “For generations, the number-one path to opportunity and the American dream, to social and economic advancement, has been education.”

Congressman Hoyer talked about the history of American citizens who had to have clandestine lessons to keep from being found out by slave owners; the people who founded colleges and schools for freedmen; and tool that education has been in the fight against inequalities, disparities, and injustices.

“Frederick Douglass, that great native son of Maryland, summed up the case for education better than anyone else: ‘It is far easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’” Congressman Hoyer said.

Today, America has a choice, he said. “We can make further investments in educating our youth today or we will have to face the challenges tomorrow of having failed to do so. But some in our country don’t understand that it’s not as simple as choosing to make education a priority. We have to do it right. We have to listen to those who are on the front lines: the teachers, the parents, the pastors, and other community leaders, and the students themselves.”

Congressman Hoyer said that was the idea behind the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, which was signed into law by President Obama. That law includes support for community schools, like the Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Education Center, which have been proven in Maryland to help close the achievement gap. Hoyer said he and his colleagues oppose the new federal approach that seeks to take funding out of the public schools and abandon equity in education. The government, he said, needs to protect Pell grants and affordable loans for high education, as well as STEAM – or science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics — skills at every level.

Follow Congressman Hoyer on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader Page.

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