Today Tom Perez issued the following statement commemorating Black History Month:
"From long before our nation’s founding through President Obama’s two terms in the White House, African Americans have made invaluable contributions to our country. This month, we pause to reflect on those accomplishments and the progress we’ve made while also recognizing the work we must still do to realize our founding principles.
"As a nation, we best honor the legacy of generations past by recommitting ourselves to the enduring fight for racial justice in all aspects of public and private life. Now more than ever, we must fight to protect the gains we've made and reinforce progressive coalitions to advance our fight.
"We honor the work of heroes like Fannie Lou Hamer and John Lewis by fighting to expand access to the ballot box and by combatting voter suppression efforts.
"We honor the work of fighters like Dorothy Height and Anna Arnold Hedgeman by fighting for economic justice and combatting continued discrimination in education, housing, lending, hiring practices and health care.
"We honor the lives of Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and countless others by asserting that Black lives matter and advocating for policies that reflect as much.
"We honor the generations of men and women subjected to slavery by another name by confronting a criminal justice system that continues to discriminate against and profit from people of color every single day.
"So while we rightly celebrate this month, we should remain committed to fighting for an America that lives up to its founding principles. It's our civic duty to do so."