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National Black Justice Coalition Applauds the Re-introduction of Reparations Legislation

CONTACT: Brett Abrams |

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) celebrates the reintroduction of reparations bills H.R. 40 and H. Con. Res. 100. 

  1. Con. Res. 100, re-introduced by U.S. Representative Barbara Lee today in the U.S. House of Representatives, urges the establishment of a United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (U.S. TRHT) that will properly acknowledge, and memorialize Slavery and racism in this country, be a catalyst for progress, and affirm the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship carrying enslaved Africans in the United States.  

H.R. 40, re-introduced by U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee in the U.S. House of Representatives last month, would establish a commission to study and consider an acknowledgement of and reparations for Slavery and the effect it still has on Black people, and communities impacted by anti-Blackness, living in this country today.  

These bills are essential as they acknowledge the truth of Slavery and the vestiges of racism, and will work towards finding meaningful and measurable solutions to make this country an equitable place for all. 

David J. Johns, executive director of NBJC explained:

“Our country is over 150 years late on conversations and actions necessary to repair fractured racial relationships and trust across communities that continue to exist beneath the weight of the systems, policies, and practices used to justify and maintain Slavery. It’s beyond time that the country we built for free provided earned reparations to the descendants of enslaved Africans.” 

“Slavery created a ripple effect of distrust of the government, systemic racism and inequities, and state sanctioned violence that have plagued diverse Black communities for centuries. There will never be a more opportune time than today to have the national conversation on race and racism that our nation has avoided since the end of the reconstruction era. In order to form a more perfect union that truly provides liberty and justice for all, we must rip off the band-aid of complacency, move beyond the myths that affirm white supremacy, in all forms, and allow truth and accountability to disinfect and heal our nation’s wounds.” 

Victoria Kirby York, deputy executive director of NBJC added:

 “The conversation about reparations must be both economic and honest. The institution of Slavery caused harm to both white and Black families alike – and yet the conversation is avoided as though we all do not live in the evidence of that truth. Hard conversations must be had in order to truly progress to a society where one’s socially constructed race does not have a negative impact on one’s life.”

“The reparations conversations must also be thoughtful and imaginative. The idea of what reparations look like and what kind of reparations will have the most benefit has changed over the years – everyone does not need or want “40 acres and a mule.” There are ideas that no one has considered that may arise from having a commission and national conversation on reparations, but they must be given the space and opportunity to come to the forefront.”    

Dr. Marcus Hunter, a Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, supports reparations and the forming of a commission for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) saying:

 “Black people are still suffering from the effects of Slavery.  No human deserves to live within and under such a brutal regime of inhumanity. Black people along with their indigenous and Native American counterparts have, however, earned relief, repair, and a refund from the global, federal, regional, and local governmental bodies and agencies that have failed them, all the while taking tax money and creativity from them for centuries. A U.S. TRHT Commission is the key to unlocking a nation’s truths that will bring us to a country healed, restored and transformed into one guided by principles of love rather than hate, our shared humanity rather than false ideas of human hierarchy.”

The National Black Justice Coalition argues that we cannot afford to let another 150 years or even 15 years go by without addressing the root cause of so many of the inequities baked into our country’s systems, governments, programs, and communities. According to the NBJC, inequities and pent-up frustrations are a risk to not only our national security but also to our place as a global leader. If there is anything that the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol showed us, it is that our racial divisions, if unchecked, will result in loss of life and the breakdown of the very institutions that are supposed to protect us all. It is for this reason that passage of H.R. 40 and H. Con. Res. 100 is essential. We must address and acknowledge the systemic issues Slavery caused if we want to move forward towards a better America for all. To learn more about H.R. 40 go here. To learn more about H. Con. Res. 100 go here. Check to see if your congressional lawmakers support the passage of these bills and if they don’t, contact them to tell them how important this bill is to their constituents. 

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.