June 19, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Releases Final Report From New York State Commission on African American History and Announces $16 Million to Advance Recommendations

Governor Hochul Releases Final Report From New York State Commission on African American History and Announces $16 Million to Advance Recommendations

Report Details Commission’s Policy Recommendations To Support and Uplift the Black Community in New York State

Governor Hochul Signed An Executive Order in March 2022 To Establish the Commission

In Honor of Juneteenth, State Landmarks to be Illuminated Red, Black, and Green; Pan-African Flag to be Raised at State Capitol

Governor Hochul Issues Proclamation Declaring Juneteenth in New York State

Governor Kathy Hochul today released the final report from the New York State Commission on African American History and announced $16 million to support the development and implementation of recommendations from the report. The first-of-its-kind report details the Commission’s policy recommendations for investment in key areas such as education, community and economic development, arts and culture, and more. The goal of the report is to commemorate overlooked achievements from the past and offer actions that the State can advance to counterbalance historic disparities in the Black community.

“While Juneteenth is a joyous occasion, it’s also a reminder of how we must reckon with all parts of our shared history as New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “Thanks to the great work of this Commission, we are making progress to right the wrongs of the past as we celebrate and preserve the history of our state’s Black community for generations to come.”

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-USODoFodc0

Established by Executive Order No. 15 in March 2022, the New York State Commission on African American History is housed at the Department of State and serves to highlight contributions by Africans and African Americans to the United States and New York. Over the course of two years, the Commission achieved its objective by partnering with stakeholders and community-based organizations to bring New Yorkers together through public meetings, events, cultural programming, and more.

Over the next two years, Governor Hochul will use this funding to advance recommendations made by the Commission in observance of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of 11 captured Africans brought to New Amsterdam for purchase in New York State, occurring in 2026.

Governor Hochul has already taken several steps to advance the Commission’s recommendations, including:

  • Signing legislation to continue New York’s leadership on racial equity by creating a new commission to study reparations and racial justice.
  • Launching a funded Black Leadership Institute at the State University of New York (SUNY) to attract, support, retain, and foster the success of emerging and current African American and Black leaders within the SUNY educational system.
  • Establishing the Dr. Hazel Dukes Fellowship to honor her service and legacy and support future leaders.
  • Announcing the I LOVE NY Black travel initiative to grow New York State tourism and encourage Black traveler visitation.

Thanks to the great work of this Commission, we are making progress to right the wrongs of the past as we celebrate and preserve the history of our state’s Black community for generations to come.”

Governor Hochul

Secretary of State Walter T. Mosley said, “A wise person once told me that diversity is a reality while inclusion is a choice. On this Juneteenth, I contemplate the reality that so many freed individuals never knew of their newfound status, and many others’ freedom was purposefully delayed at the expense of maintaining the remnants of a cruel world. So, as we acknowledge and celebrate the end of the final vestiges of slavery in the United States, we must never forget those who weren’t allowed to live as free individuals. It is proclaimed that history is lived forward but it is written in retrospect. We remain grateful for the history we’re allowed to retell so that we may uplift one another and continue to move our nation forward. Finally, I want to thank Governor Hochul and the New York State Commission on African American History for their dedication and commitment to understanding the importance of recognizing our past and celebrating our future.”

Vice Chairperson of the NYS Commission on African American History and President of the NAACP New York State Conference Dr. Hazel N. Dukes said, “I am excited by the work that has been supported by the Department of State, including former Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez and former Chief of Staff Joanne Fernandez, along with our External Advisor Maria Dautruche, and my colleagues in the Commission. So many stories from the public visits that the Commission conducted throughout the past two years still sit with me; hearing from communities about the contributions made by African Americans throughout our history was a window into the wealth and knowledge that reside in our communities. I’d like to commend the Governor for her foresight to prioritize inclusion of all New Yorkers as we move forward in this great state. This report and the budget investment of $16 million will most certainly enlighten our communities to the significant history and contributions of African Americans in New York State and inspire the heroes and sheroes of today. We cannot move forward without knowing where we’ve been, and this will encourage future generations to honor the examples set by our ancestors. I am honored to have been a part of this work.”

Commission Member and Chancellor Dr. Lester W. Young, Jr. said, "The final report of the New York State Commission on African American History signifies the immense contributions of people of African descent to the social, economic, intellectual, artistic, scientific, and historical development of America, the Diaspora and the world. I thank Governor Hochul for allocating a $16 million budget for the Commission's work. These funds will make it possible to expand public access to African American and Black history and culture through the state's museums, libraries, and cultural institutions. Furthermore, these funds will be used to enhance educator knowledge and resources, integrate historically accurate information into the state's standards and assessments, and create more learning opportunities for all students across New York State."

Commission Member William E. Berry Jr. said, “The multi-tasked work of the Commission, the dedication of service by commissioners, as well as the intellectual curiosity and willingness to manifest aspirations to create workable solutions will serve the citizens of NYS well into the future. The funding support is testament to the intentionality of the Governor and Legislature to move forward strategic solutions to enhance the understanding and appreciation of African American history and diverse societal contributions by Black and Brown citizens to the larger community, both historically and currently.”

Assemblymember and Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Michaelle C. Solages said, “I am encouraged by the release of the final report from the New York State Commission on African American History and the allocation of $16 million to advance its recommendations. We extend our gratitude to all stakeholders, including Governor Hochul, for their dedication to this process. This initiative offers a vital framework for addressing systemic inequities and fostering economic, educational, and social opportunities for Black communities across our state. We are committed to supporting these efforts and working collaboratively to ensure these recommendations result in tangible, positive outcomes for our communities.”

Governor Hochul Delivers Remarks at Juneteenth in Queens

In recognition of Juneteenth, Governor Hochul signed a proclamation declaring the holiday in New York State. Additionally, the Pan-African flag will be raised over the New York State Capitol and state landmarks will be illuminated red, black, and green. A full list of landmarks to be lit available below.

Landmarks to be illuminated red, black and green include:

  • 1WTC
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • Lake Placid Olympic Center
  • MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
  • Moynihan Train Hall
  • Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640

Translations

الترجمة إلى العربية
বাংলা অনুবাদ
Traduction en français
Tradiksyon kreyòl ayisyen
Traduzione italiana
Polskie tłumaczenie
Перевод на русский язык
Traducción al español
پیلے رنگ سے نمایاں کردہ ٹیکسٹ
אידישע איבערטייטשונג