The Congressional Black Caucus joined V.I. Delegate Stacey Plaskett in encouraging President Obama to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands before the end of his term this year, according to Plaskett’s office.
Plaskett initially invited Obama to visit the territory in January.
In a letter addressed to the president Friday, members of the Congressional Black Caucus highlighted the historical significance of the Virgin Islands to both the Caribbean and the United States and stated their support for the president to make an historic official visit to the territory.
“I am really grateful to have the support of my colleagues in this effort,” Plaskett said in a statement. “Their support to the people of the territory and the issues we face is meaningful in many ways and I will continue to work tirelessly toward growing support among my other colleagues in Congress.”
In their letter, the CBC members also highlighted the president’s leadership in drawing attention to historical mistreatment to the territories and to other areas across the world, and urged President Obama not to forget the Virgin Islands and its often overlooked disparities.
The letter comes less than a year ahead of the Virgin Islands commemorating the centennial anniversary of becoming a territory of the United States.
Plaskett said the March 31, 2017, anniversary presents a great opportunity for Virgin Islanders to look back at the history of the territory under United States jurisdiction and evaluate its position going forward.
“The coming centennial anniversary gives us a platform to have meaningful dialogue around our history with the United States, our enormous contributions and the genesis of the issues affecting our territory today, as well as how we solve them and the direction of our Virgin Islands going forward,” she said.
“I believe that conversation should not just be had amongst ourselves but should include the president and the Congress as well. I am hoping that the support of my colleagues will help reverberate the importance of a presidential visit in this context,” Plaskett said.