ACT Now! and Pass H.R. 40

It’s Time to Right the Wrongs of Slavery and Its Continued Impact

As people of faith, we believe every person in our nation should have the opportunity to live up to our country’s fundamental organizing principles–life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Right now, we see the devastating effect of white supremacy on Black people throughout America, and the time to act is now. We strongly urge you to ask your Representative in the U.S. House to support and vote to pass H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act.

Last Summer H.R.40 received a favorable vote from the House Judiciary Committee. This is the first time a House committee has considered the bill for recommendation to the House floor since it was first introduced in 1989 by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). Now we have to make sure H.R.40 is passed into law to acknowledge and make amends for the sins of our past and present.

God calls us to repair wrongs done to one another and to work towards justice for all. Dismantling systemic racism is a moral and sacred act for such a time as this. Racism is ubiquitous in our country’s history and built into our systems and institutions systematically disenfranchising Black people throughout the social structures that area part of everyday life. It’s time to right the wrongs of slavery and its continued impact. We need legislation to examine the impact of chattel slavery, Black Codes, convict leasing, Jim Crow, redlining, education, employment opportunities, and more. H.R. 40 would establish a commission to examine the history of enslavement and discrimination in the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.

As Christians we are inspired to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ who commanded us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This love calls for justice and equity. Nothing should come before this call to love expressed in action that leads to justice. Racial equity in our communities cannot wait. Reparations cannot wait. The time is now, and in this sacred time, we are reminded that everyone is suffering due to systemic racism, because it is a byproduct of our country’s original sin. We have an opportunity and an obligation to swiftly pass H.R. 40 as a first step in redressing centuries of injustice against Black people in the United States. H.R. 40 has been described as the ONLY present possibility in adequately addressing and redressing these historic injustices. Let’s be on the right side of history proclaiming with our voices and our policies that every human being bears the inviolable dignity of God.

Until the United States acknowledges the systemic failings that we have allowed to persist and offer Black people redress for these harms, there will be no healing in our nation. Reparations is a matter of Justice, and the time is now to act by passing H.R. 40.