Spectrum partnered with City and State New York to mark the accomplishments of several influential people at a Black History Month celebration in Manhattan.

The honorees included Bronx Borough president Vanessa Gibson, Reverend Al Sharpton and Lifecamp Founder Erica Ford.

Ford reflected on the struggles of being Black in America and reminded the audience to respect history.

“Black people are the bloodline of America. We are the bloodline, the foundation that America was built on. It was the death of our people, of our ancestors, that give life and oxygen to everything in America. It’s okay to give us a month to celebrate and we celebrate because we like to celebrate.”

Gibson and Sharpton celebrated their progress but encouraged others to keep the momentum going.

“There were folks that doubted that we would get to the victory line and when other people count you out, you have to count yourself in,” Gibson said.

“It means nothing if 10 years from now, 20 years from now, they’re in this room, and we can’t show where Blacks advanced in the metrics that matter,” Sharpton said.

Charter is the parent company of Spectrum News NY1.