New York

Why the attacks against my Black History Education bill are racist

Fringe groups like the Working Families Party, Make NY True Blue and Indivisible feel intellectually superior to everyone and believe they determine who is a Democrat and who is not, and define who is black enough and what it means to be a public servant in communities of color. 

With this disconnected view, activists shamefully slammed my effort to pass the Black History Education bill during Black History Month. 


Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton State Sen. Jesse Hamilton

Fringe groups like the Working Families Party, Make NY True Blue and Indivisible feel intellectually superior to everyone. In this self-appointed, all-knowing role, these individuals believe they determine who is a Democrat and who is not, and define who is black enough and what it means to be a public servant in communities of color. 



With this disconnected view, activists shamefully slammed my effort to pass the Black History Education bill during Black History Month. 
 


This hallmark piece of legislation, co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, a fellow Brooklyn Democrat, would weave into everyday lessons the major achievements of African-Americans, the woman’s abolitionist movement, the Harlem Renaissance, the Buffalo antislavery movement and the suffrage of African-American Long Islanders.  

We must build an education system that embraces the inescapable truth that tomorrow’s America will be even more diverse, will call for even more understanding, and will require us to be better versed in the American stories of our African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino and African diaspora brothers and sisters.

Our bill would establish a 13-member commission that includes representatives from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, the Board of Regents chancellor’s office and the city and state education departments to develop a strong statewide Black History curriculum.

This inclusive approach brings all stakeholders together to create an educational program that could be permanently implemented. As a result, prominent black legislators throughout the city and state, black churches and advocacy organizations – and even Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network – support the Black History Education bill.

With my ability to reach across the aisle, I passed this legislation in the New York state Senate last year and will do it again this year. Make no mistake, legislation for Black History education and all issues of consequence to the diverse people in my district would never get passed, were it not for getting support across the aisle. It is a fact. The votes would simply not be there otherwise.

Instead of being celebrated for gaining support and finally reaching this important milestone, I have received racially charged letters and calls from Alliance for Quality Education and Working Families Party allies referring to the curriculum as “fake black history,” calling me by disparaging names and smearing my character. On Sunday, these fringe groups will stand together to protest this legislation for not going far enough, and me, for doing my job, and delivering for the people in my district and in my community.

As a black man, and a Democrat, who has dedicated his life to public service and advancing the history and needs of my brothers and sisters, it is despicable that AQE and leaders of the Working Families Party have viciously attacked me and have questioned my authenticity on both counts.

We live in a polarizing time, with people who are so invested in their ideology they would rather accomplish nothing than work with anyone who doesn’t look or believe exactly as they do. Nevertheless, racism cloaked in intellectual and moral superiority is still racism.

This bill is a step in the right direction and we invite people to come to the table and join us in getting real results.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.