We will never achieve racial justice in America if this country does not examine the impact of slavery and its legacy – and make strides toward achieving reparatory justice.
No amount of material resources or monetary compensation can ever be sufficient restitution for the spiritual, mental, cultural, and physical damage inflicted on African Americans ripped from their families and nations to labor for the enrichment of the United States. After the "abolition" of slavery, those emancipated suffered violent repression, oppression, exploitation, and deprivation under Jim Crow laws and Black codes in the South, as well as de facto segregation in every region of this nation.
Reparations are about acknowledging the damages inflicted on Black Americans through enslavement and post-emancipation exclusionary polices; repair, healing, respect, and restoring Black dignity and reconciliation, so that we can walk together to create a more just and humane society.
Now, we have the power to make reparations for slavery real with H.R. 40, a bill that would set up a commission to examine the institution of slavery and its impact and make recommendations for reparations to Congress. We are building support for H.R. 40 among the Maryland Congressional delegation, and the time to act is now.
Send a message to your members of Congress urging them to vote YES on H.R. 40.
On Juneteenth (June 19, 2019), the ACLU partnered with the National African American Reparations Commission to convene the first of a series of forums to focus on the factual, moral, and social justifications for reparations for Black people in the United States. The event was held at the historic Metropolitan AME Church.
Jefferey Robinson, ACLU Deputy Legal Director, Director of the ACLU Justice and Equality Center:
“The ACLU has a critical role to play in this struggle; and it is not to lead this struggle, because that’s not what the ACLU can do. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit on the sideline. What the ACLU can do is to use our platform and our resources to bring the voices of impacted leaders to the widest section of America possible."
“We are all familiar with the legend of America: truth, justice, and freedom. But the facts don’t match up with that legend. And we believe at the ACLU, that if we can help impacted leaders bring their truth to the rest of America, we will see the passage of H.R. 40 and America moving toward what can and should be what we’ve always said we are.”