BAYONNE – Senator Joseph V. Doria, Jr., D-Hudson, issued the following statement today regarding the first day of Black History Month, and the need to recognize and respect the achievements and struggles of African Americans in New Jersey:
“As we take a moment to reflect on the beginning of Black History Month in February, I hope that we can take time to appreciate the unique needs and struggles of African Americans in the Garden State.
“New Jersey is rich in African American history. Whether it’s the contributions of modern-day Renaissance man and civil rights pioneer Paul Robeson, the barriers torn down by tennis champ Althea Gibson, the courage of Underground Railroad Conductor Harriet Tubman or the brilliant prose of Toni Morrison, black New Jerseyans have done so much for the cause, and to enlighten society as a whole.
“But while we celebrate the achievements accomplished in the name of Black New Jersey, I think it’s only appropriate that we do not lose sight of the struggles still ahead.
“In Camden, black families live with the reality of urban poverty, wondering where their next meal will come from.
“In Newark, young black men and women face the scourge of drug abuse, and the rising tide of HIV infection.
“In Jersey City, young black boys and girls are being cut down in our streets, before their promise can be truly realized, because of rampant gang violence and street crime.
“We have much to celebrate in February, but I would hope that Black History Month also serves as a refocusing on the need to do more for the African American community in the Garden State. History has so many examples of African Americans who have overcome adversity to achieve so much good. Wouldn’t it be nice if the next generation of African Americans could have the opportunity of accomplishing the same without having to struggle to survive?”