Spanberger, McClellan, Salazar Introduce Bipartisan Bill Recognizing African Diaspora Heritage Month

Sep 14, 2023
Local Issues

The Bipartisan Resolution Would Recognize the Contributions of the African Diaspora Community to U.S. Culture & Society

The Congresswomen are Leading the U.S. House Companion to a Bipartisan Resolution Led in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04), and María Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27) today introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation recognizing African Diaspora Heritage Month, traditionally celebrated by the diaspora community in September.

Virginia and Florida are home to two of the largest African diaspora communities in the country – and approximately 2.1 million sub-Saharan African immigrants live in the United States. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would recognize the extraordinary history, importance, and contributions of the African diaspora in Virginia, Florida, and across the United States.

“I am proud to once again lead the effort to recognize African Diaspora Heritage Month, recognizing the vital role the African diaspora community has played in shaping our nation’s rich history and culture,” said Spanberger. “African immigrants have been essential to Virginia’s continued growth and prosperity, and I’m proud to shine a spotlight on the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora in our Commonwealth and in the United States. I encourage my colleagues to express their support for this community by voting to officially recognize African Diaspora Heritage Month.”

“The African diaspora community has deep ties to the Commonwealth of Virginia, from the first Angolans who arrived on our shores in 1619 to now being one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the United States,” said McClellan. “While in the Virginia State Senate, I led the charge to make Virginia the first state in the nation to designate September as African Diaspora Month. Now in Congress, I am proud to co-lead this effort at the federal level with Congresswomen Spanberger and Salazar. The more than 115,000 African diaspora immigrants in Virginia — and over 2.1 million nationwide — should be celebrated for their incredible contributions to our local communities and our nation.”

“The African diaspora in the United States and Latin America make up an essential part of our rich cultural tapestry and it is important that the United States recognize these achievements,” said Salazar. “I am honored to reintroduce legislation with my colleague, Congresswoman Spanberger, that will recognize the month of September as African Diaspora Heritage Month.”

Spanberger, McClellan, Salazar’s legislation is the companion bill to legislation led in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA). This resolution is supported by the Virginia African Diaspora Community.

“Time is always right and the right time is the best; with our future ahead of us and our ancestors beside us; the time is now for the African Diaspora Heritage Month bill to pass and be a law,” said Princess Philomena Desmond-Ogugua, Virginia African Diaspora Committee.

“We are grateful to see the bipartisan reintroduction by Reps. Spanberger and Elvira Salazar of this bill recognizing African Diaspora Heritage Month. The African Diaspora is a vital and integral part of American society, and it is long overdue that we acknowledge and celebrate their significant contributions,” said Bo Machayo, Virginia African Diaspora Committee. “This bill represents an important step forward in recognizing the rich and diverse heritage of the African Diaspora, its historical impact, and its continued influence on our nation. We look forward to the continued support and collaboration of lawmakers to ensure that the stories and experiences of the African Diaspora are given the prominence they deserve.”

Click here to read the full bill text.


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