Assertion by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Black Historical past Month

United States Mission to the United Nations
Press Service and Public Diplomacy

1er February 2022

Today begins a month-long celebration of the contributions and achievements of black Americans, which is also an opportunity to reflect on parts of our nation’s history that we often overlook. By looking at our history through the lens of historically marginalized communities, a richer and more nuanced view of our identity as a people emerges. Americans of all backgrounds can benefit from this deeper understanding. By better portraying the trajectory of our ancestors, we can discover new patterns to follow and get a better sense of how we fit into contemporary US history.

Anyway, that was my case. I often think of my mentor, Ambassador Edward Perkins, like myself from Louisiana and a diplomat, who was already an icon in the State Department when I joined in 1982. He has continued his career in many of the most important diplomatic posts in the country. He was the first African-American ambassador to South Africa amid apartheid. He has also held other high-level positions such as Ambassador to Liberia, Director General of external service and US Ambassador to the United Nations. It is not by chance that I myself held these three positions later. Watching him take on these roles allowed me to imagine myself in those positions.

Over the past year, the United States has played a key role in establishing the Permanent Forum for People of African Descent at the United Nations General Assembly. This forum is an acknowledgment that we are finally being pressed to give a voice to the dynamic challenges and aspirations of people of African descent, not just in the United States but around the world. This forum comes to create a new inclusive space for all people of African descent to unite and build a better future, a future rooted in our heritage and based on the solid foundations built by all members of the African diaspora who played a vital role in building this nation. and many others.

We must continue the work of highlighting the rich contribution of black people around the world and ending the scourges of racism and discrimination that continue to plague black lives and our nation every day. The Biden-Harris administration is committed to this work and I look forward to continuing it at the United Nations.

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