Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding Black History Month 2011:
"Harriet Tubman once said, 'Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.' A true soldier of the Civil War, Tubman is among the ranks of countless African-Americans who have paved a path of opportunity, bold visionaries who dreamed, who challenged the status quo, defied the odds and changed the course of American history.
"This month we commemorate that progress. Against the backdrop of this year's theme, African-Americans and the Civil War, we embrace the movement that lies ahead. We celebrate the spirit of our forbearers and build upon their promise of justice, equality and opportunity for all.
"America is built on this promise. And the contributions of African-Americans have been instrumental building blocks of its success. In the 'war between the states,' African-Americans fought selflessly to promote unity. In the midst of great intolerance, many sacrificed their lives. This patriotism reached beyond the front lines of war. African-Americans aided the wounded, gathered intelligence and consoled the faint of heart.
"Much progress has been made since then. Today, African-Americans are valued contributors in every American pursuit and path. But barriers still remain to be broken. Together, we must remain committed to creating an education system that works for everyone. We must continue to create and expand job opportunities for everyone. And we must remain committed to protecting civil rights and ensuring equal opportunity for everyone.
"With strength, patience and passion, we continue to shape the destiny of this great nation. Like Harriet Tubman, we continue to dream."