Note: Pax Christi USA is a signatory to this letter and supporter of the effort to create a commission to study legacy of enslavement and develop reparations proposals.
LETTER TO HOUSE LEADERSHIP
RE: Repair Can’t Wait – Immediately Pass H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Majority Whip Clyburn, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Honorable Members of the House of Representatives:
On behalf of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA), the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), organizational members of the Why We Can’t Wait Coalition, along with the undersigned 365 national, international, state, and local organizations, and over 40 leaders, activists, and celebrities, we urge Congress to immediately bring House Resolution (H.R.) 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, to a full vote on the House floor.
H.R. 40 has a record 215 members of Congress committed to voting “yes” when the bill comes to the House floor. With this level of support, it should pass the House, so long as Leadership sticks to public promises to get behind it and advance the bill. People in the US are now more eager than ever to pull back the curtain on institutions to see whether they have helped to advance or stall racial progress, and those institutions include the US Congress. As states, cities, and other institutions, including the state of California; Providence, Rhode Island; Burlington, Vermont; Tallahassee, Oklahoma; Greenbelt, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Evanston, Illinois; Georgetown University; the Jesuits; and others pursue reparations at an accelerated pace, it would be sheer irony for the federal government, which sanctioned the kidnapping and trafficking in human beings that slavery entailed, and maintained subsequent anti-Black laws and institutions, to continue to lag behind.
H.R. 40 would establish an expert commission to study the legacy of slavery and how the failure to address harms stemming from it have resulted in huge racial disparities between white and Black people in: the ability to accumulate wealth; to access health care, education, housing and employment opportunities; environmental outcomes; and policing, among other things…