AALDEF supports H.R. 40 to create commission to study slavery and discrimination against African Americans, make recommendations to Congress
On Feb. 12, 2021, AALDEF submitted a letter to U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, expressing support for H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The Commission would prompt a national conversation about the legacy of slavery upon African Americans and continuing structural racism in our country and a discussion of reparations. Several Japanese American and Asian American groups have submitted testimony in support of H.R. 40, citing their experience with the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians that led to redress for Japanese Americans during World War II. You can read AALDEF’s statement below and here.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties is holding a hearing on H.R. 40 on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 2021 at 10 am ET. You can watch the hearing at this link.
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February 12, 2021
Hon. Jerrold Nadler
United States House of Representatives
Washington DC 20515
Dear Congressman Nadler:
On behalf of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), we write today to express our strong support for the passage of H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, which was introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and currently co-sponsored by 157 members of Congress.
As a New York-based national organization founded in 1974 to protect and promote civil rights for Asian Americans, we have worked closely with leading civil rights organizations, such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and LatinoJustice PRLDEF, to strengthen civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans.
It was our honor to work for many years with the Japanese American community and its allies to advocate for redress for injustices suffered during World War II. Through support for the coram nobis cases, class action lawsuit, and legislative remedies (including H.R. 442, which resulted in passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988), we saw that a redress campaign including public testimonies, legislative debate, and the careful crafting of appropriate legislative remedies could have positive impacts both on those seeking redress and on the nation as a whole.
The Commission proposed by H.R. 40, like the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) formed to study the Japanese American case for redress, has the potential to promote thoughtful and meaningful dialogue that will benefit African Americans and all Americans. We strongly support the passage of H.R. 40 and look forward to working with you to begin a process that will further strengthen our “more perfect Union.”