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60th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education

May 16, 2014 | Blog

As I reflect today on the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown vs. Board of Education, which paved the way for the integration of American schools, I am reminded of the richness of my own experiences in the public schools growing up.

I spent most of my childhood in Miami, apart from a few years in Las Vegas. In both cities, I attended schools of great ethnic and racial diversity. In Las Vegas, there were white non-Hispanic students, African American students, and many whose families had immigrated from Mexico. And in Miami, my high school football team was as diverse as the city I called home. 

I’m grateful to have been exposed to such diversity. It gave me, early in life, an appreciation of the varied cultural backgrounds that combine to make America the vibrant and thriving global beacon that it is. I learned from my classmates in a way that would have been impossible just a few decades earlier. But even more importantly, I gained an understanding of what unites Americans as a people. All parents from all backgrounds want their kids to have access to the promise of America, and this starts with our children receiving a world class education in a safe and welcoming environment.

Ours is the greatest nation in history, but our history is not without blemish. Slavery and the discrimination that followed it violated the founding ideal that everyone deserves an equal shot at success. Today, we still carry on the fight for equal opportunity. We still have work ahead of us to heal the wounds inflicted in a time of great injustice. But on this day, we remember the case of Brown vs. Board of Education, one of many instances in our history when the courage of a few who dared to stand up to injustice led to a better America for all.