As he passed his gavel to the group's new leader, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, he lamented upcoming battles over raising the debt ceiling and spending cuts to vital programs that their constituents rely on, but expressed confidence that the caucus is more than prepared for the fight.
“These men and women are the men and women you can count on no matter what. They stand up when everybody else is sitting down, and they are not afraid to speak out when something needs to be said,” Cleaver said.
In her remarks, Fudge recalled a famous line by Shakespeare.
"All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players," she said, to make the point that CBC members are major players on the national and world stage.
The Ohio lawmaker said that the CBC has been at the forefront of every social and economic injustice, but also said that the group's efforts are not just their story but part of a national narrative that all Americans should be a part of. The caucus, known as the "conscience of the Congress," she added, will continue to take on issues that other lawmakers are unwilling or reluctant to tackle.
"After years of progress, we are now witnessing the disappearance of opportunities that allow everyone to reach their highest potential. It is happening in our communities, in our schools and in some cases in our homes," Fudge said. "This is our fight. If we are merely players at this juncture in our history, let us play to win."
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(Photo: Courtesy of Congressional Black Caucus Foundation via Facebook)