Dear Mrs. Obama:
It is with highest homage and admiration to you that I write this letter. I am the Northeast Regional Representative, and Board Member, for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. The Reparations Movement, of which N’COBRA is a member, implores you to start a national dialogue on a reparations accord for Blacks in America. This national dialog must be firmly rooted in the historical context of the “trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the “holocaust” of African enslavement in the United States which is anchored in the destruction of life, culture, and human possibilities.
Our ancestors were terrorized by injustices codified in the Constitution of the United States by America’s founding fathers and carried out by religious organizations, corporations, and units of government. Left unchanged, This collaborative will continue in perpetuity impacting African-Americans’ capacity to develop all of their human possibilities if reparations are not paid for the damage done.
Chattel enslavement, and the de facto and de jure racism that have grown from it, was not that long ago as opponents of truth and justice would lead the voting public to believe. As a distinct people in America, African-Americans, with a pre-determined social, economic and political status, have been “free” for only 144 years (1865-2009). This also means that 100 years of our so-called freedom (1865-1965) were spent trying to repair ourselves and seeking recognition as humans.
Our ancestors were “freed” dead broke, without brick, bread, or thread, despite, the promises made, while the enslavers were compensated for the lost of their chattel. Still, today, 44 years later, even with the election of your husband as the President of the United States of America, African-Americans are still not fully recognized.
Therefore, a true national dialogue on a reparations accord for Blacks in America is appropriate within this founding context of America. Reparations are the cross-road solution to these historical injustices and our current undeveloped human capital. This past due debt, left unpaid, will forever contradict the U.S. Constitution you know so well, as well as the Holy Bible you held and where your husband placed his hand to take the Presidential Oath of Office.
Congress passed, and President Obama signed, a stimulus bill to save large financial institutions and corporate America, of which significant amounts were used to pay bonuses to the very corporate executives under whose watch the current economic crisis has deteriorated. Now is the time for Congress and the President to come up with a stimulus check to pay for the damage done to Blacks in America.
There is no statute of limitations for this moral and economic debt owed. This is why America should participate in the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Durban Review being held in Geneva Switzerland next month.
I ask that you remind the President, in the ways only you can, that he has the wherewithal to make real the God-given words of our beloved servant-leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, spoken boldly in 1963, on the steps of our nation’s Capitol, in his “I Have a Dream” speech,
“So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Dr. King’s 1963 speech is indelible as truth is,
“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”
So I write this letter openly to remind the First Family that a reparations accord would stimulate America’s economy and give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. And I close this letter with the reminder of the “fierce urgency of now.” Dr. King said it this way,
“This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism...Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.”
Thank you for your fidelity. It is with my fervent faith that I trust you will realize that God brought you to the White House, as First Lady, for such a time as this, to help with, amongst other things, the dialogue on a reparations accord and support for House Bill H.R. 40, sponsored by the Honorable Congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
For our ancestors and our descendents,
Minister Ari S. Merretazon, M.S.CED
Northeast Regional Representative
Board Member, N’COBRA