“Hello, I’m Adam Smith, I’m the Congressman who represents the 9th district of the state of Washington. I want to join the people of my district and all the people in this country in celebrating Black History Month and celebrating all that African Americans have contributed to our great country. I am pleased to represent a very diverse district, we speak well over 160 languages in the 9th congressional district and African Americans are a key part of that diversity and a key part in making our community a great place to live that it is. And we need to recognize that for too long in our country, racism dominated just about everything and the accomplishments of African Americans went unnoticed and unnoted and unappreciated. That needs to change. What they have contributed for our country is beyond measure.
“Now we’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to racism in this country. Through the leadership of people like Martin Luther King and many others, we were able to, well to begin with, end slavery, push back Jim Crow and begin to fight for equality of opportunity. But I want to make it clear that I understand that we have a very long way to go. And this past year frankly, it’s the first time in my lifetime I can say that I think we can take a step back in getting further in our idea of a race free society, in terms of how we view people. To do as Martin Luther King said, to judge people by their character, not the color of their skin. We have seen a racism in racism, unfortunately. We have seen a rise in hate crimes and just a rise in general animosity. I think we all know some of the reasons for that, but the more important thing is that we fight so that we don’t lose the progress that has been made. We’ve got a long way to go to achieve the equality in opportunity that every person in this country deserves. And in particular, we need to focus on eradicating racism every place we see it. We should treat people as they are, not because of the color of their skin.
“Black History Month gives us a chance to focus on African Americans, all they have accomplished for our country, all they have done for us. And hopefully, more importantly, focus on putting an end to racism and actually treating people with the dignity and respect that they all deserve. I am going to keep working on that, my staff is going to keep working on that. Black History Month is an excellent way every year to remind us of what we have accomplished, but also of the work that we have to do in order to achieve true equality for all African-Americans in society. In part by recognizing all that they have accomplished for our country and all that they continue to accomplish for our country, and the great contributions that they make to our community and to our nation. So I join you today in celebrating Black History and I hope like I said, we can build off of this and move forward towards greater equality in our society.”