To commemorate the start of Black History Month, Maine Democratic Party Chair Drew Gattine released the following statement:

“From the very beginning, Black history has been American history. So while this month is a time to pause and celebrate the rich heritage of African Americans who have who fought for our independence and to keep the union together, who organized and marched for civil rights and voting rights that had been stripped from them, and who have profoundly shaped American civic life and culture, let’s not treat Black history as somehow separate from American history only to be forgotten when the calendar turns to March.

“But Black History Month is important. We can, and should be celebrating the lived and shared experiences of African Americans, both here in Maine and across this country. And we should also use this time to reckon with our nation’s grim past and present white supremacist ideology that has exploited Black Americans and other people of color since our country’s founding. Because by examining the unvarnished truth of our past, we can chart a better future.

“So this month, let’s commemorate the centuries of Black history in our country, and how that history has shaped and strengthened our communities today. And in the process, let’s remember that building a more equitable and just society is urgent, but requires a long-term commitment from us all.”