For Immediate Release
National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA)
Ari S. Merretazon, Northeast Regional Representative; 215-850-1699
Barbara Baker, Midwest Regional Representative 312-720-0648
Kamm Howard, Board Member At Large, 773-520-0369
Congressional apologies are not enough, reparations accord for Blacks is needed, now!
We don’t think it is coincidental that, at the same time the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) was holding its 20th Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas during the week of “Juneteenth” -- June 19th, the day in 1865 that slaves learned at the end of the Civil War that they were free the U.S. Senate was apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans in a Senate Resolution. Without a reparations accord/proclamation this is just another assault on Blacks in America .
N'COBRA has long stated its position on the growing number of resolutions of profound regret and questionable apologies by units of government and private corporations. These resolutions should be viewed only as means to open dialogue about the elements of repair that must be included in a reparations accord. Our position is no different with this most recent Senate resolution.
The N’COBRA twentieth conference marked a paradigm shift for the reparations movement in America , defined as The Reparations Accord: The Reparations Movement in the Age of Obama.
N'COBRA position remains, notwithstanding congressional electoral politics and this age of Obama as President, that there are at least five injury areas remaining from America ’s system of enslavement that must be resolved and all apologies, proclamations or resolutions must be steps leading toward recommendations, policies, resources and programs of ways and means for repairing the damage.
The issue is no longer should reparations be authorized to Blacks, but what should be the elements of a reparations accord to assure that the monstrous destruction of human life, human culture, and human possibilities never occurs again and, that repair and healing begin. N’COBRA will engage the sponsors of the bill on the real work that lies ahead. Among the many areas a reparations accord for Backs must include are five key, broad yet specific injury areas: people-hood, education, criminal punishment, wealth/poverty, and health.
Obama, Change, and reparations are good for America .
N'COBRA sincerely appreciates Congressman John Conyers' efforts to stay on the front line with his enduring leadership and congressional diplomacy over the last 20 years. He has helped to awaken the moral spirit of justice in the U.S. by submitting H.R. 40 in each session of Congress. The passage of H.R 40, in the age of Obama, will go a long way to repair the damage done to the enslaved ancestors of Blacks in America .
Additionally, N’COBRA agrees with Senator Harkin, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, who is quoted as saying, "Let us make no mistake: This resolution will not fix lingering injustices.” We also join with senator Harkin in the belief it is long overdue, and the real work lies ahead.
N’COBRA, as a coalition of individuals and organizations recognizes the continuous, uncompromising hard work of the Reparations Activists in America and throughout the world, as fostering and creating the atmosphere within which an apology of this nature has been made.
As with any true apology/confession it is expected that the perpetrator(s) of the crime state as accurately as possible what the apology is for, seek repentance, and be willing to repair the damage done by acts of commission and omission. An apology alone falls short without both full identification and acknowledgement of the conduct that caused the injuries, along with the resources to repair the damage inflicted.
The Senate resolution could have been crafted in such a way that it would help lead America out of its shameful denial while contextualizing the inordinately high levels of poverty, health related issues, poor education, poor housing, crime, poor families, etc., existing in present day African descendant communities which can be directly linked to the American system of enslavement.
It is not the goal or intent of N’COBRA to bankrupt America , in that the wholesale destruction of human life, human culture, and human possibilities is incalculable. It is only logical that a dialog about the elements of a reparations accord be the next step, in connection with the passage of House Bill H.R.40: Commission to Study Reparation Proposal for African-Americans Act, sponsored by Congressman Conyers, which has been held hostage in committee since 1989.
The demand for reparations by Blacks in America is not about a check. Reparations are the cross-road solution to the human capital development of Blacks, and reparations are ways and means of repairing the destruction of a civilized people.
So, today, we tell the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, and the whole wide world, that we lived and are living the “Whereas’ of your resolutions. The resolve of the resolutions, resolves nothing, instead it not only insults and inflames the advocates for reparations, but also reasonable Black people throughout the world working for the various units of the U.S. Government, including those fighting America ’s wars around the world.