A Conversation About Reparations
I recently spoke to Minister Ishmael Abdul-Salaam about reparations. He's a National Chairman with AFRE (All For Reparations and Emancipation).
The group is working to obtain reparations for people in the African diaspora who've been affected by the slave trade. Slavery was an interntional business that many countries participated in, including the U.S.
Congressman John Conyers (D) Michigan has been trying to pass a reparations bill since 1989 (H.R. 40).
Rep. Conyers outlines the challenges:
"One of the biggest challenges in discussing the issue of reparations in a political context is deciding how to have a national discussion without allowing the issue to polarize our party or our nation. The approach that I have advocated for over a decade has been for the federal government to undertake an official study of the impact of slavery on the social, political and economic life of our nation."
The U.S. Government has given reparations to other groups like Japanese-Americans who were unfairly imprisoned during World War II. Is there any debate that blacks were unfairly treated for some 400 years? Companies that exist today were built with free labor, and, regardless of your color, we all deal with the social and economic effects from the slave trade.
Here are some of Minister Abdul-Salaam's thoughts on reparations, and why he believes it's a global human rights issue. Write your local fedral representative if you think this is an important issue.