When slavery ended, Black Americans were free to do what they wished, but they had no land, no money and no education. They have been struggling ever since, trying to catch up to white America, and the barriers put up during Reconstruction made it even harder. Statistics show there continues to be a significant gap in wealth between the races, one that federal education programs have been unable to close.

White America has sometimes apologized for slavery as well as their actions during the following days, but never have the apologies been coupled with any action to make things right. It is time for that to happen, through a program of reparations.

HR 40 is titled “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African 
Americans Act.” It proposes exploring ways to do just that. It is sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and our own Rep. Chellie Pingree is an original co-sponsor. There was a hearing on it before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on April 13. They recommended passage of the bill, and the full committee concurred by a vote of 25 to 17.

Many Americans believe that Black Lives Matter. Here is a vehicle to actualize that. Concerns do not bring about change by themselves. Apologies do nothing unless they are accompanied by actions. It is time we did something concrete in response to our concerns. Speak out and express your support for this legislation. Work for passage of this congressional measure, which is intended to make things right.

Cushman Anthony

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