Brooklyn Democratic Party chair Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn has joined her political colleagues in celebrating Black History Month, noting that the commemoration started since 1976.
“We use this time to honor the brave activists who fought against racial discrimination and oppression, as well as the artists, leaders and innovators who’ve left an indelible mark on our nation,” said Bichotte Hermelyn, representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, on Wednesday. “As we reflect on these pioneers, we must keep in mind that the battles fought by these trailblazers of history are still being fought today.”
Bichotte Hermelyn, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, said one such pioneer, Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, “lived right here in Brooklyn.”
The late Chisholm was the daughter of a Barbadian mother and a Guyanese father.
In addition to representing New York’s 12th Congressional District for seven years, Chisholm became the first Black candidate to run for President of the United States, as well as the first woman to run for her party’s presidential nomination.
“Last year, we witnessed history in the making, with the election of Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to hold the position in the United States,” Bichotte-Hermelyn said.
She said history has also been made on Capitol Hill, stating that, in 2020, a record number of Black women were elected to Congress, which builds on the history made in 2018 when a record 57 Black members were sworn into the 116th Congress.
“In addition, we’ve begun to see monuments to controversial political figures and Confederate soldiers come down, as communities across the country reckon with the racism and violence that stains our nation’s past and present,” Bichotte-Hermelyn said.
She said other such great pioneers that must be remembered for their contributions to the betterment of society include, Frederick Douglas, a social reformer and national leader of the abolitionist movement; Harriet Tubman, one of the most prominent and effective conductors, who helped hundreds of enslaved people escape their captors; Langston Hughes, a renowned poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist; and Jackie Robinson, a professional Major League Baseball player who broke the baseball color line when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“Black History Month serves as a time to not only honor and remember the victories of the past but to motivate us to continue on the path toward true equality,” Bichotte-Hermelyn said.
“Together, we can continue the work started by these pioneering activists and finally bring their goals — and our country’s founding ideals — to fruition,” she added.