President Joe Biden on Monday marked the start of Black History Month with an official White House proclamation.
"...Black history is American history, Black culture is American culture, and Black stories are essential to the ongoing story of America — our faults, our struggles, our progress, and our aspirations," the proclamation read.
The statement noted that while the U.S. was founded on the idea that "all of us are created equal and deserve to be treated with equal dignity throughout our lives," the country has often failed to live up to that standard.
"The long shadows of slavery, Jim Crow, and redlining — and the blight of systemic racism that still diminishes our Nation today — hold America back from reaching our full promise and potential," the White House wrote. "But by facing those tragedies openly and honestly and working together as one people to deliver on America's promise of equity and dignity for all, we become a stronger Nation — a more perfect version of ourselves."
Biden also used the proclamation to tout his administration's commitment to diversity, noting that his administration appointed people of color to top government positions like Vice President, the Secretary of Defense and director of the Office of Management and Budget for the first time. The statement also noted Biden's legislative wins.
"Both the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are making historic investments in Black America — from vaccine shots in arms to checks in families' pockets and tax cuts for working families with children to a landmark $5.8 billion investment in and support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities," the note said.
Biden closed the proclamation by quoting Amanda Gorman — the poet who offered a reading at his inauguration in 2020.
"Let us continue to fight for the equity, opportunity, and dignity to which every Black American is due in equal measure. Let us carry forward the work to build an America that is, in the beautiful words of the poet Amanda Gorman, 'Bruised, but whole — benevolent, but bold, fierce, and free.'"