Thursday, December 13, 2007

On the eve of a major US House hearing on HR 40, Greens make the case for reparations for the descendants of slaves


For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,

WASHINGTON, DC -- On the eve of a major House hearing on the subject, Green Party leaders called for reparations for the descendants of slaves and a national discussion on how reparations should be implemented.

The hearing will take place on Thursday, December 6, before the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in the Rayburn Building in Washington, DC. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), chair of the committee, is the sponsor of HR 40, the Reparations Study Bill .

"The most effective way to show the nation's regret for centuries of stolen labor is to make restitution," said Alfred Molison, co-chair of the Green Party's Black Caucus and a Texas Green. Mr. Molison noted that the Green Party of Texas and the Harris County Green Party have adopted a statement calling for the study of reparations as part of their platforms.

"The history of Jim Crow laws, enforced poverty and segregation, and the denial of human rights show that the ideology on which slavery was founded didn't disappear after emancipation, with lasting effects on the lives of African Americans. Red-lining in housing and job discrimination occurred within recent memory, persisting even after the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The targeting of black people for incarceration in the War on Drugs fills up cells and provides dirt-cheap labor for the prison industry and associated corporate contractors -- a new form of slavery. The obstruction of African American votes in the 2000 and 2004 elections and the treatment of black people in the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina reveal the same ideology at work," added Mr. Molison.

The Green Party -- unlike the Democratic and Republican parties -- endorses reparations in its national platform .

In 2006, Greens expressed their support for a lawsuit that would hold Brown Brothers Harriman, a major US financial corporation, liable for its involvement in the slave trade .

"The call for reparations is a call to revive the unfinished work of the Reconstruction after the Civil War," and to correct the abuse of America's criminal justice system in the form of the War on Drugs," said Clifford Wallace Thornton, Jr, national co-chair of the Green Party, Connecticut Green Party co-chair, and co-founder of Efficacy, Inc. . "The Reconstruction was interrupted when Southern states began to pass anti-black Jim Crow laws, while at the same time the Supreme Court granted corporations rights as persons under the 14th Amendment, which was originally passed to protect freed slaves."

"The Green Party seeks to restore human rights where they belong -- to humans. Reparations were part of the Reconstruction, and Greens insist that reparations are essential today in the movement for equality, human rights, and democracy," said Mr. Thornton.


Green Party of the United States
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193

Green Party News Center

Green Party Speakers Bureau

Green candidate database for 2007 and other campaign information:

"Groundbreaking Study Examines Drug Imprisonment in 198 Counties; 97 Percent Experienced Racial Disparities"
Justice Policy Institute, December 4, 2007

Restitution Study Group

National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA)

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1 comment:

James said...

I'm not personally in favor of reparations lawsuits, or "reparations for the descendants of slaves," if the Green Party means what that sounds like, but I'm glad to see that the Green Party is taking this issue so seriously.

You might want to note that the hearing mentioned in the press release is actually scheduled to take place next week, on Tuesday, December 18, at 10:00am.

The hearing should cover a variety of issues and perspectives related to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.