The National Council of Churches USA (NCC), Faith for Black Lives, and more than 200 faith leaders from across the country issued a letter today to President Joseph Biden to establish a commission to study reparations by executive order on or before Juneteenth, June 19, 2023.
The United States has a notable record of demonstrating the courage to admit when its policies and actions have resulted in harm. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act to compensate victims of the US policy to place people of Japanese descent into internment camps during World War II.
“The National Council of Churches historically has stood on the frontlines in advancing a vision of racial justice in America to build a beloved community,” said Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, Interim President and General Secretary, NCC. “This historic letter to President Biden from a diverse coalition of faith leaders speaks to the fierce urgency to preserve American democracy through reparative justice,” she added.
“We encourage President Biden to pursue a pathway of racial healing and transformation in this country by establishing a Presidential Commission to Develop Reparations Proposals,” said Rev. Stephen A. Green, Chair, Faith for Black Lives. “As attempts to erase Black history spread across the nation, it is imperative that we respond with a federal approach to address the harms and vestiges of slavery and segregation.”
Notable signatories include:
- Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, Interim President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches USA
- Rev. Cornell William Brooks, Director, William Monroe Trotter Collaborative
- Rabbi Jonah Posner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
- Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Ecumenical Bishop, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
- Rev. Jesse Jackson, President, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
- Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens General Minister and President Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada
- Metropolitan Serapion, Metropolitan of Los Angeles Coptic Orthodox Church
- Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church (USA)
- Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President United Church of Christ
- Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Miller, President, Northern Province, Moravian Church in America
- Rev. Stephen A. Green, Chair, Faith for Black Lives