E X E C U T I V E O R D E R
Establishing the 400 Years of African-American History Commission
WHEREAS, the diverse, important and numerous contributions that African-American and Black New Yorkers have made and continue to make to New York State, our economy, and our culture have frequently been minimized or overlooked because of the enduring effects of slavery, persistent racism, and frequent discrimination in our laws and society;
WHEREAS, over 400 years have passed since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619, marking the beginning of a period of hundreds of years during which people from Africa were involuntarily taken from their homelands and brought to the colonies that eventually became the United States, where they were forced to endure lifetimes of enslavement and discrimination, and recognizing that African-American and Black New Yorkers still suffer from disparate outcomes in health, economic prosperity, public safety, and general welfare;
WHEREAS, New York is committed to ending such disparities and ensuring that the expansive contributions, achievements and culture of African-American and Black New Yorkers are uplifted and recognized for their beneficial impact on the health, economic prosperity, public safety and general welfare of all New Yorkers; and
WHEREAS, due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the intent and purpose of Chapter 22 of the laws of 2020 has never been fulfilled;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, KATHY HOCHUL, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:
- There shall be established at the Department of State the 400 Years of African-American History Commission (the Commission).
- The Commission shall consist of fifteen members, including the Secretary of State, or their designee, the Commissioner of Education, or their designee, seven members appointed by the Governor, two members recommended to the Governor by the Temporary President of the Senate, two members recommended to the Governor by the Speaker of the Assembly, one member recommended to the Governor by the Senate Minority Leader, and one member recommended to the Governor by the Assembly Minority Leader.
- Members shall include but not be limited to historians and those with a background in African-American history, arts, or culture.
- Such appointments shall be submitted to the Department of State within 90 days of the effective date of this Executive Order.
- A vacancy on the Commission shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.
- The Secretary of State, or their designee, shall serve as the Chair and shall appoint the Vice-Chair of the Commission. The presence of a majority of the authorized membership of the Commission shall be required for the conduct of official business.
- The Department of State shall provide technical assistance, data, and such other support to the Commission as may be necessary for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities pursuant to this order.
- The Commission shall submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature that contains a summary of its planned activities, an accounting of its received and expended funds, and its findings and recommendations on or before October 1, 2023.
- The Commission shall submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature that contains a summary of its activities, and its findings and recommendations on or before June 1, 2024.
G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State
in the City of Albany this ninth day of March in the year two thousand twenty-two.
BY THE GOVERNOR
Secretary to the Governor