Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II: Introduction

Official portrait of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri

Black history is American history. It is baked into the foundation of our country so thoroughly that it is impossible to escape its influence today. The vast number of accomplishments Black Americans have contributed to our society may be too great to be appreciated for only a month, but it is important that we use the month of February to keep the legacies of those who came before us alive and well.

When I think of Black History Month, I think of storytelling; where traditions and history are preserved to reflect self-love, the overcoming of great obstacles, and appreciation for those who blazed a trail for us today. Without telling their stories, we in turn erase our own. We risk critical misunderstandings of American history, along with the context of black strength and perseverance. 
I’m proud to share the stories of my father, grandfather, and colleagues who put the strength in me to persist and demand for a more equitable future. In scripture, Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”. I think upon these things quite often. I’m proud to share the excellence of those who came before me, and for one day, to have future change makers use those stories as future inspiration to continue our march toward a more perfect union.