Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus
“There is still more work to be done to make the promise of this great nation, the practice.” Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II
Washington DC – Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II released the following statement on the 40th Anniversary of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC):
“As we celebrate 40 years of service to our nation, I am humbled and honored to serve as the 22nd Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus during our 40th Anniversary. This is a time to celebrate the progress that we have made as a Caucus and recognize those who have made and continue to make that progress possible. We honor our founding Members still serving with us today, the Honorable Charles Rangel and the Honorable John Conyers.
“Throughout our 40-year history, the Congressional Black Caucus has worked tirelessly to ensure that all Americans, regardless of race, color or creed have the chance to pursue and achieve the American dream. Leading our communities and country with passion and commitment, the Congressional Black Caucus continuously strives to be a voice for the voiceless, continually earning the moniker ‘the conscience of the Congress.’
“Not only have we grown in number, but our members have maintained key leadership positions. In the 112th Congress, Caucus member Jim Clyburn serves as the Assistant Democratic Leader. In addition, John Conyers, Elijah Cummings, Bennie G. Thompson, and Eddie Bernice Johnson are the Ranking Members on the House Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, Homeland Security, Science, Space, and Technology Committees, respectively.
“We are at a critical point in our nation’s history where all we have accomplished is being threatened and we remain steadfast in our commitment to defend and guard the change we have all worked so diligently to implement.
“The Congressional Black Caucus will not compromise when it comes to the welfare of our constituents and communities. Our top priority remains getting Americans back to work by creating economic opportunity for all, not cutting critical programs that impact the welfare of our most vulnerable communities. We will work diligently to ensure our children have the ability to learn from pre-school to college. While many attempt to de-fund and destroy Health Care Reform, the CBC remains steadfast and committed to defending and ensuring equal access to healthcare for all Americans.
“Some still ask if the Congressional Black Caucus is needed. To that I simply say there is still more work to be done to make the promise of this great nation, the practice. We look forward to continuing to serve our communities and the United States of America until that day comes.”
Former chair of the CBC, Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-35) issued an equally compelling statement:
“Today we honor the 13 Members of Congress who came together 40 years ago and launched the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Some, like Reps. Conyers and Rangel, are still admirably serving their constituents. Others, like Ron Dellums, Louis Stokes, Walter Fauntroy, and Bill Clay, Sr., continue their work and their advocacy in other fields. And some, like the legendary Shirley Chisholm and Augustus Hawkins, my predecessor, went home long ago.
“The founders of the CBC had the knowledge and the fortitude to understand the problems facing our community, recognize their own strength, and come together to create an indomitable force for awareness, for betterment, and for change.
“When I organized the Black Members of the Financial Services Committee in 2009 to stand in solidarity and ensure that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act looked out for our community and other communities devastated by the financial crisis, I was inspired in part by the original 13.
“True to its creed, the CBC has remained the ‘Conscience of the Congress’ ever since. If there are unjust wars happening; if there are people wrongly losing their homes and their jobs; if there is crushing poverty keeping people from realizing their full potential; and if there is discrimination, injustice, or ignorance happening anywhere, the CBC is there to shine a light, identify the problem, hold people accountable, and offer solutions for a better day for our people and for all people who have found that the halls of power are often naturally, or willfully, deaf to their concerns.