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Dear [add your Representative’s name ________________]
Given the centuries of government-sanctioned racist oppression and violence that have occurred in this nation and that have perpetuated perennial racial conflict between blacks and whites along with deep-seated trauma within the African American communal group, I believe it is the responsibility of our government to engage its citizens in exposing truth, working through painful social realities, building healthy inter-group relationships, and implementing systems to assure a more just America for all.
Therefore, in light of the 2008 and 2009 acknowledgements and apologies expressed in House Resolution 194 and Senate Resolution 26, I am requesting that on behalf of all Americans you lead the journey to implement a government-sanctioned, Truth, Reconciliation and Peace Process* (TRPP) to advance the opportunity for healing the wounds and consequences of centuries of racist oppression in this nation.
A U.S. government-sanctioned TRPP could be especially effective in engaging Americans in all walks of life in actively reestablishing the nation’s commitment to the equitable, just, and humane treatment of all its citizens on the basis of our nation’s stated moral ambitions and values with regard to truth, courage and integrity. Additionally, such an initiative would move our society past treating the "symptoms" of racism and racial conflict by addressing the root causes of these social ills.
As my Congressional representative, you have the ability, influence and constitutional duty to support the expressed acknowledgements, apologies and commitments of HR 194 and SR 26. Please consider:
It is noted in House Resolution 194 that:
Slavery in America resembled no other form of involuntary servitude known in history, as Africans were captured and sold at auction like inanimate objects or animals;
The system of slavery and the visceral racism against persons of African descent upon which it depended became entrenched in the Nation’s social fabric, and
African-Americans continue to suffer from the complex interplay between slavery and Jim Crow--long after both systems were formally abolished--through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity.
It is noted in Senate Resolution 26 that:
The system of slavery and the visceral racism against people of African descent upon which it depended became enmeshed in the social fabric of the United States;
African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws--long after both systems were formally abolished--through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty;
Those African-Americans who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws, and their descendants, exemplify the strength of the human character and provide a model of courage, commitment, and perseverance, and
An apology for centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but confession of the wrongs committed and a formal apology to African-Americans will help bind the wounds of the Nation that are rooted in slavery and can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help the people of the United States understand the past and honor the history of all people of the United States.
And, it is noted in both Resolutions that:
After emancipation from 246 years of slavery, African-Americans soon saw the fleeting political, social, and economic gains they made during Reconstruction eviscerated by virulent racism, lynchings, disenfranchisement, Black Codes, and racial segregation laws that imposed a rigid system of officially sanctioned racial segregation in virtually all areas of life;
The story of the enslavement and de jure segregation of African-Americans and the dehumanizing atrocities committed against them should not be purged from or minimized in the telling of American history, and
On July 8, 2003, during a trip to Goree Island, Senegal, a former slave port, President George W. Bush acknowledged slavery’s continuing legacy in American life and the need to confront that legacy when he stated that slavery ‘was . . . one of the greatest crimes of history.
In fact, HR 194 expressed a “commitment to rectify[ing] the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against African Americans under slavery and Jim Crow and to stop the occurrence of human rights violations in the future.” And SR 26 expressed a “recommitment to the principle that all people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and calls on all people of the United States to work toward eliminating racial prejudices, injustices, and discrimination from our society.”
Based on the above and given the continuing and escalating race-based conflict, violence, oppression and disparity apparent in the United States, I urge your support to implement TRPP initiatives that will respect our nation’s historical and cultural complexities and employ a full gamut of restorative measures to accomplish significant and lasting social reconciliation.
*The Truth, Reconciliation and Peace Process is introduced in the book: “Crimes against Humanity in the Land of the Free: Can a Truth and Reconciliation Process Heal Racial Conflict in America?” (2014) by Imani Michelle Scott, Ph.D. Editor and Contributing Author. The book is available on Amazon.com for review, and you can learn more by visiting: www.crimesagainsthumanitybook.com