Spanberger, Salazar Introduce & U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill Recognizing African Diaspora Heritage Month

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 — Passed Yesterday in the U.S. Senate — Led by Senators Kaine & Warner

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and María Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27) yesterday introduced — and the U.S. Senate passed — bipartisan, bicameral legislation to recognize African Diaspora Heritage Month.

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 resolution would recognize the African diaspora’s contributions to communities in Virginia, Florida, and across the United States, as well as and emphasize the need to incorporate diaspora voices in U.S.-Africa policy.

Spanberger and Salazar are leading the U.S. House companion bill to legislation led in the U.S. Senate by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA).

“The large, vibrant, and diverse African diaspora community in our Commonwealth makes Virginia stronger, with diaspora members serving as leaders in our government and in our communities,” said Spanberger. “Africa has a rich cultural heritage that is intertwined with Virginia and our country as a whole. I encourage my colleagues in the House to acknowledge the many contributions, achievements, and strengths of the African diaspora by voting to officially recognize African Diaspora Heritage Month.”

“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 co-lead on legislation that will federally recognize the month of September as African Diaspora Heritage Month.”

This resolution is supported by the American Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee and the Virginia Africa Diaspora Community.

“This is a very welcome resolution. Such recognition of the African diaspora is what many groups across the US have been calling for,” said Gennet Negussis, American Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee. “It will help shine a light on the immense value of African American communities. We are excited to work with Rep. Spanberger and Rep. Salazar to make African Diaspora Heritage Month a reality.”

“Congresswoman Spanberger’s bipartisan legislation designating September as African Diaspora Heritage Month is a crucial step toward acknowledging how Africans are a powerful part of Virginia’s story, from Angolans landing at present-day Hampton in 1619 to the 115,000 foreign born members of the Diaspora community,” said Bo Machayo, Steering Committee for the Virginia African Diaspora Committee. “African immigrants and their families are essential to Virginia, whether it’s through our small businesses, international trade, or working as doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Virginia’s congressional delegation has been incredible in their support of our community. Together, this bill reaffirms the African diaspora belongs here in the Commonwealth and the United States by celebrating our diverse culture, achievements, and strengths.”

Click here to read the full bill text.

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