Jan. 26, 2023
Dr. Cheree Meeks at the Dunbar Pavilion.

Dr. Cheree Meeks at the Dunbar Pavilion.

On January 24, 2023 the Pima County Board of Supervisors held a meeting where Dr. Cheree Meeks, W.A. Franke Honors College Assistant Dean of Programs, Diversity, and Inclusion, was invited to accept the proclamation for Black History Month in Pima County. Dr. Meeks also serves as the president of the NAACP - Tucson Branch.
You can view Dr. Meeks' remarks here (her proclamation begins at 24:25).

Black History Month Proclamation

Dr. Cheree Meeks, NAACP Tucson, President - 1.24.2023


Thank you Chair Grijalva and members of the Pima County Board of Supervisors for your leadership and recognizing Black History Month and the NAACP’s work to carry the torch forward in the pursuit of civil rights and social justice.

I am Cheree Meeks and I serve as the President of NAACP Tucson. I also serve as Assistant Dean for Programs, Diversity, and Inclusion in the W.A. Franke Honors College at the University of Arizona. It is an honor to accept this Proclamation.

History. The first Negro History Week was established in 1926 by historian and scholar, Dr. Carter G Woodson. It was in 1976 that President Gerald Ford officially recognized the month of February as Black History Month. Although the shortest month of the year, February was intentionally selected because of the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

And here we are now, in 2023 preparing to celebrate Black History Month. The national theme this year is Black Resistance. African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial massacre, and police killings; from escaping the plantation, to the rise out of poverty and the struggle for equal housing and education to the struggle for voting rights - the resistance lives on even into the 21st century. Black Resistance can take many forms. Black resistance is awareness of our histories, engaging in the arts, driving political action, challenging racist medical practices, and supporting Black authors and entrepreneurs. There is power in resistance.

The NAACP was founded in 1909. We envision a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race. Resistance is in the fabric of who we are.

After 100 years of advocacy, we finally persuaded the U.S. Congress this past year to adopt the federal Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act. A century overdue. Congress failed nearly 200 times to pass anti-lynching legislation. But here we are.

We also rejoiced last year to see the first African American woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson. Her presence and voice in the highest court of the land, is an act of resistance.

In the State of Arizona, we are continuing to pursue pretrial bail reform legislation introduced this year as HB2398. And we are grateful to this Board of Supervisors for your support for our bail reform legislation.

And today, later on the agenda, we appreciate this Board’s ongoing review of the IGA for Initial Appearance Judges and consideration of our ongoing request for better data collection and reporting, as well as consideration of alternatives to incarceration. We are pleased to see the recommendations of County Administrator Jan Lesher that echo what we have been urging, as well as the support for these recommendations by County Attorney Laura Conover, Tucson Police Chief Chad Kasmar, and Sheriff Chris Nanos. We hope you will vote today to adopt the County Administrator’s recommendations.

We are grateful for partners who join us in advancing equality and justice for all.

We look forward to celebrating Black History Month throughout Pima County with you.