Rep. Cori Bush has introduced a resolution on reparations for Black Americans.
Black Veterans Project's Richard Brookshire provided the below remarks at today's press briefing on Capitol Hill:
This day was birthed by immeasurable suffering sanctioned and oftentimes carried out by the very government whose shadow in which we now stand. Reckoning with the atrocities visited upon Black folk by a nation rife with hypocrisy can overwhelm the psyche, but we would be remiss as defendants of those who bore generational hardships if we didn’t take on the daunting task of righting historical wrongs.
My brothers and sisters; there is a debt to be paid — a monetary, social, moral and spiritual debt to be accounted for. In the words of the great Dr. King: we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.
There is a concerted and insidious effort in our country and within the hallowed halls of Congress to proffer a revisionist history of the bigotry and economic lynching visited upon millions of Black families since our nation’s inception. The legacy of this history is apparent in every facet of American life and within every American institution.
Bigotry has left in its wake a trail of evidence so profound that it cannot and will not be denied.
I come before you today as one veteran, yet I represent millions across the centuries whose service resulted in degradation and discrimination. Black veterans who — despite patriotic service, often voluntary, but many times conscripted, faced a systematic denial of the rights and benefits afforded to their white compatriots — the right to fair housing through VA home loans, to equitable education through the GI Bill, to vital pensions in old age and fair and just disability compensation for bearing the wounds of war.
Baked into every facet of the Department of Veterans Affairs are stark racial inequities that have for decades exacerbated the racial wealth gap. This injustice has imposed a formidable indignity on Black men and women who’ve served in uniform. Confronting this legacy is the work of the Black Veterans Project. And we stand proudly beside Representative Cory Bush in demanding America take responsibility for multitudes of economic and moral devastations levied on its Black citizens. Black veterans like Isaac Woodard did not return to a ticker tape parade, but a baton by the hands of an overzealous officer that would blind him for life. Or Conley Monk, who fought for 40 years to receive housing, education and disability benefits after a racially discriminatory discharge during the Vietnam War and whose father was unjustly denied access to the GI Bill because anti-Black discrimination was the law of the land.
A multi-generational economic lynching made plain for all to see. Their experiences are ubiquitous.
This Reparations Resolution is the path to establishing a renewed soul and moral compass for our nation. Because a nation built on chattel slavery, sustained through economic exploitation and bent on historical erasure without any semblance of accountability and reconciliation has no future worth defending.