CLEAR Joins Human Rights Watch in Urging US Congress to Pass HR 40, Reparations Bill

This week, the Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research proudly has joined with nearly 300 national and state organizations in urging Congress to enact House Resolution 40 (HR 40), which would establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery.

The letter has been organized by Human Rights Watch a nonprofit with a mission to investigate and report on human rights abuses happening in all corners of the world, by protecting activists, helping hold abusers to account, and bring justice to victims..

The letter with a list of current signatories can be found on the Human Rights Watch website.


Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Chairman Nadler, and Ranking Member Jordan:

Cc: Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s seminal text, “Why We Can’t Wait,” was written in 1963 and has emerged as more prescient than ever in this moment. The multi-racial, cross-generational protests across the United States have ushered in a national reckoning on structural racism—and a sea change in attitudes. A majority of people in the US support the protests and believe that racism is a serious issue in this country. We, the undersigned organizations, believe addressing it can no longer wait.

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 the US Congress is no exception. One bill in particular can demonstrate support for meeting this moment in a reasonable, rational, and compassionate way: House Resolution (HR) 40. We urge House and Committee leadership to bring this bill to a full vote once it reaches the floor. 

The current social movement, the largest in US history, is in response to problems that are centuries in the making—issues intractably tied to the horrors of settler colonialism and the enslavement of Black people in the United States. People in the US are increasingly aware that there is no way forward from the current strife without addressing one of the nation’s most egregious violations of human rights—the institution of slavery. HR 40 would establish a commission to investigate the legacy of slavery and its ongoing harms as well as come up with proposals to Congress for redress and repair.

HR 40 is simply a first and reasonable step—it is a commitment to truth-telling, studying and coming up with ideas to treat the disease, rather than a commitment to the treatment itself. The bill has been introduced for 30 years—yet for 30 years, it has languished. If the protests have demonstrated anything, it is that action cannot wait.

  • HR 40 can’t wait, when Covid-19 is harming Black people in the US  at three times the rate of white people, with disparities across all age groups and areas of the country.
  • HR 40 can’t wait, when Black infants are more than twice as likely to die as white infants—making the disparity worse than it was in 1850, when Black people were enslaved.
  • HR 40 can’t wait, when heads of white households who only have a high school diploma are sitting on almost 10 times more wealth than Black households with the same level of education. If Black families did “everything right,” the advanced degrees would still allow them to accumulate less wealth than a white family whose head of household only had a high school diploma. They’d be disproportionately denied mortgages and fair lending rates regardless of their incomes.
  • HR 40 can’t wait, when the gap between Black and white wealth is as large as it was in 1968.
  • HR 40 can’t wait, when school districts that serve higher populations of Black and brown students receive $23 billion less in funding compared to mostly white school districts, even though they serve the same number of children.
  • HR 40 can’t wait, when Black students are disproportionately punished and criminalized in their schools, beginning in preschool, facing greater rates of suspension, expulsion, and arrest compared to their white peers, often for the same behaviors.
  • HR 40 can’t wait, when experts say that systemic racism is leaving Black people with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorderharm to their immune systemspremature aging, and in Washington, DC, life expectancies that are a staggering 14.9 years shorter than white residents’—all while Black people are less likely than white people to have access to mental health services and more likely to receive poor quality care.
  • HR 40 can’t wait, when the suicide rate for Black children is rising faster than for any other racial and ethnic group, and the second-leading cause of death for Black youth aged 10 to 19.
  • Don’t ask us to wait, when governments’ infrastructure plans have racially segregated cities across the country, creating separate conditions of life for Black and white people through “urban removal,” highway construction, restrictive zoning laws, and use of eminent domain.
  • Don’t ask us to wait, when as a result of government-imposed segregation, health outcomes in Black neighborhoods are disproportionately impacted by heat levels and environmental hazards due to the close proximity to places like oil refineries, trash incinerators, construction sites, and waste dumping sites.
  • Don’t ask us to wait, when even after the broken promise of “40 acres and a mule,” formerly enslaved Black people and their descendants managed to own 14 million acres of land at the start of the 20th century, while today at least 90 percent of that land is not in their possession, due to systemic oppression, targeted racist violence, and an inequitable legal system.
  • Don’t ask to us wait when the property tax system has discriminated against Black families throughout history and across the country, saddling them with an unfair tax burden – and when to this day, Black people pay 13 percent more in property taxes than similarly situated white families.
  • Don’t ask us to wait, when even dying costs Black people more — end-of-life care under Medicare is $7,100 more expensive for Black individuals compared to their white counterparts.
  • Don’t ask us to wait, when Black people are more than six times as likely as white people to languish behind bars for possessing drugs for personal use, even though Black and white people use drugs at the same rates.
  • Don’t ask us to wait, when 1 in 1,000 Black men and boys in the United States can expect to die at the hands of police in a country where it’s rare for police officers to face legal consequences — and even rarer to face a conviction — for killing Black people.
  • Don’t ask us to wait, when Black women in the United States are three times more likely to die of preventable pregnancy related causes than white women, and are nearly twice as likely to die from cervical cancer.

As Dr. King argued in 1963, the movement for racial equality and equal rights under the law calls on us to move courageously towards repair. We can’t get back those years and wages that Black people lost while in bondage and unfairly behind bars. We can’t recover the lives lost to systemic anti-Blackness and heinous racial terror. We can’t undo the trauma that has wreaked havoc on Black communities and bodies. But what we can do is pass HR 40, and its Senate companion S 1083. It is what the moment requires. It is an opportunity to start moving the United States out of this deep quagmire of inequality and to finally make it whole.                                                                 

Sincerely,

1863 Ventures

1Hood Media

4S Bay Partners

ACR Capital, LLC

ADDY PRODUCTIONS LLC

Adrian Dominican Sisters

African Ancestral Society

Alabama New South Coalition

Alabama Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy

Alchemy Space

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas

All Healers Mental Health Alliance

Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School

AME Zion Church

American Baptist Churches, USA

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

American Friends Service Committee

American Humanist Association

Amherst Mindfulness

Amnesty International USA

Amplify Action

Appeal Incorporated

Arise For Social Justice

Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Athlete Ally

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

AveryEden, LLC

Bayard Rustin Liberation Initiative

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Big&Chewy, LLC

Black Administrators in Child Welfare (BACW)

Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)

Black and Pink

Black and Pink, Boston

Black Mental Health Task Force

Black Millennials 4 Flint 

Black Millennial Political Convention

Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC)

Blacks in Law Enforcement

blank space

Bleeker

Board of Aldermen City of New Bern, NC

Bon Secours Associates

Boston Workers Circle

Braxton Institute

Breakout

BreAtheWithMe Revolution

Brighter View Foundation

Broken Crayons still color

Bronze Investments, LLC

California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice

Center for Community Alternatives

Center for Disability Rights

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Centro Legal de La Raza

Change The Ref

Chinese-American Planning Council

Chi-Town Impact

Council of Jewish Women

Children’s Defense Fund

Children’s Defense Fund – California

Children’s Defense Fund – Minnesota

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

Church World Service

City of Durham, NC

City of Yonkers, NY

Collaborating Voices Foundation

Color of Change

Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute

Community Healing Network, Inc.

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces

Connecticut General Assembly

Creation Justice Ministries

Criminal Justice Policy Coalition, Boston, Massachusetts

Dance/NYC

Demand Progress

Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project

Disability Rights California

Disciples Center for Public Witness (Disciples of Christ)

Discovering U

Dominican Cultural Association of Yonkers

Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids

Dream Catcher Initiative Inc.

Drug Policy Alliance 

Dynamic Force Productions, LLC

East Bay Community Law Center

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)

Evelution INC

Equality North Carolina

Faith Action Network – Washington State

Faith For Black Lives

Faith in Public Life

First Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

Fit, Fyne & Fabulous, LLC

Fred T. Korematsu Institute

FUSD Racial Justice Project

FUSD Reparations Group

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Giving Blueprint

Global Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School (for affiliation purposes)

GLSEN

Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights

HBCUNomics, LLC

HBCU Pride Nation

HBCU STEAM, LLC

HBCU Wall Street

Heart to Heart Coalition

Health in Justice Action Lab, Northeastern University School of Law

Henrose Cares, Inc

HERitage Giving Fund

Historic Vernon AME Church

Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, USA-JPIC

Human Rights Watch

I Love Black People

IKAR Jewish Community

Immigrant Legal Defense

Impact Youth Services

Institute of the Black World (IBW) 21st Century

International Black Women’s Congress

Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)

Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Dayton Chapter

Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Sacramento Chapter

Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Seattle Chapter

Japanese American National Museum

Johnson & Klein Law

Justice Roundtable

Keep The Change, LLC

Klassy Gyrlz Empire SP&C

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Let’s ReUp

LGBT Center of Raleigh

LGBTQ Allyship

Life Line Financial Group

makeitplain.com

Matthew Shepard Foundation

McPherson Strategies, LLC

Merakai

Messiah Baptist Church

Minnesota Council of Churches

Murph-Emmanuel AME Church

My Community Too PAC

Nathalie Molina Niño, LLC (O³)

National Action Network (NAN)

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE)

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

NAACP Yonkers Branch #2188

National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC)

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA)

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

National Association for Black Veterans, Inc.

National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW)

National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice

National Birth Equity Collaborative

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA)

National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL)

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)

National Council of Churches

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council of Negro Women, Inc. – Hudson Valley Section

National Equality Action Team (NEAT)

National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA)

National Health Law Program

National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG)

National Lawyers Guild (NLG)

National Lawyers Guild – International Committee

National LGBT Bar Association

National LGBT Cancer Network

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

National Partnership for New Americans

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

National Religious Campaign Against Torture

National Stop the Violence Alliance. Inc.

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New American Leaders

New York Day of Remembrance Committee

New Yorkers for Culture & Arts

Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress

Nikkei Progressives (Los Angeles)

North Carolina Council of Churches

North Forest Bulldogs Youth Sports

OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates

One World Exchange

Project Blueprint

Operation Restoration

Optional Outreach

Orthodox Church in America

OutNebraska

Pacific Community Ventures

Pillows to Pads

Pivot Sac

Positive Women’s Network-USA

Poo-Pourri

Powerful Community Church in Wichita, Kansas

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Primera Impact

Progressives Educating New Yorkers

Pure Heart Worship Center

Radical Health

Raleigh Immigration Law Firm

Ramirez & Sunnerberg

Rare and Black

RaVae Entertainment, Inc.

Red-Horse Financial Group, Inc.

Religious of Jesus and Mary, USA-Haiti Province

Reparations for Amherst, MA

Reparations Pledge

RESULTS

Rise Up Kingston

Rosalyn Cares Foundation

Safer Foundation

Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference 

San Jose Nikkei Resisters

School Sisters of Notre Dame, Central Pacific Province

ScienceVest

Shining Stars Leadership Academy

SimonSays Entertainment, Inc.

Sisters of Bon Secours, USA

Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Congregational Leadership

Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Western Province Leadership

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team and Office of Anti-Racism & Racial Equity

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, USA

Sisters of the Presentation, Dubuque, Iowa

Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny

Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, Province of the United States and Canada

Sixth Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal Church

Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA)

Society of the Sacred Heart United States Canada Province

South Carolina Christian Action Council, Inc.

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund

St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church

St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church, San Jose, California

Stetson University College of Law

Strive Till I Rise

Strong Asian Lead

Sunrise Movement

Terence Crutcher Foundation

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

The Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations

The Association of Black Psychologists, Inc.

The Bridge Crossing Jubilee

The Taifa Group, LLC

The Chocolate Factory

The Husseini Group, Inc.

The Josa Group LLC

The Mezzanine Fund

The Prinz Law Firm, P.C.

The Reparations Project

The United Church of Christ

The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society

Think Rubix Woke Vote

Third Avenue Business Improvement District

Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center

TRANScending Barriers

Tsuru for Solidarity

Tule Lake Committee

Tyler Household Girl Chat 3.0

Umbrelly Welly

Union for Reform Judaism

Unitarian Church in Denver

Universal Negro Improvement Association-African Communities League Rehabilitating Committee Government

University Network for Human Rights

Ureeka, Inc.

URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity

USC Gould School of Law International Human Rights Clinic

Vision Walkers

Vote Run Lead

#WeAllGrow Latina Network

WESPAC Foundation, Inc.

Whitman-Walker Institute

WOCstar Fund

Women’s Law Project

Woodhull Freedom Foundation

World Within Labs

Www.reparations4slavery.com

Yard Talk 101

Yoga Center Amherst

YOUnify

Zehner, LLC

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