Date: February 21, 2017
Location: Ambassador Residence
Remarks as Prepared
Thank you for joining me today as we celebrate Black History Month.
I want to thank Amikaeyla Gaston and the Mike Del Ferro Trio for headlining tonight’s celebration. Special thanks to the Embassy staff and the American Voices team for making this evening possible and making my house look great.
Black History is American history. Black History is part of our collective history, as Americans, as a people.
This year marks the 91st anniversary of Black History Celebrations in America. Each February, we remember the struggles of millions of Americans to overcome devastating obstacles – slavery, prejudice, poverty – while we also honor their profound contributions to the nation’s cultural and political life.
We are proud to celebrate so many extraordinary lives that are part of our history and our country today.
Here in Islamabad, the American Embassy community is marking Black History Month by collecting donations for a local home for youth, sponsoring a film and discussion series, and of course celebrating with the visit of Amikaeyla.
The arts in particular have been influenced by many great Black Americans: the poetry of Maya Angelou, dance of Misty Copeland, the music of Louis Armstrong. There is great power in music, especially as it challenges our understanding of the world around us and opens our minds to new ideas. Music can bridge the gap between different cultures and bring people together, as it has brought us together today.
Please welcome Amikaeyla Gaston and the Mike Del Ferro Trio.