Advance Reparations Study Commission through White House

Tell President Biden: Establish reparations study commission

UPDATE: Faith and racial justice partners are calling for President Bident to establish a commission to study reparations, modeled on the principles of H.R. 40. Contact the White House today.

The White House has the opportunity establish a commission on principles of H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act. This proposal would establish a new commission to study the lasting impacts of slavery in the U.S. and develop a set of recommendations for advancing reparations for affected people of African descent.

Better understanding of the role of U.S. enslavement of African Americans in national formation, slavery’s legacy of systemic racial disparities perpetuated through practice and policy, and definition of reparations are long overdue steps in promoting racial justice in the United States. As a moral issue, a matter of social justice and an expression of the ELCA’s commitment to advance racial equity, we support the establishment of this commission and their charge. It could bring our nation one step further in achieving greater racial justice and inform the work of the church in examining its own involvement in and benefit from U.S. slavery.

ELCA Foundation for Action

In 2019, the ELCA Church Council adopted the Declaration to People of African Descent that was presented that year to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. The declaration called for action to further “engage in anti-racism and racial justice work, work toward economic justice—including the study of reparations.” The Declaration offered a public apology to people of African descent which acknowledges that racism and white supremacy are deeply rooted in our history and that the church is complicit. This apology "means working toward a deeper understanding of slavery and its legacy, of institutional and structural racism, of white privilege, and of attitudes and foundations of white supremacy."  Our church undertook these actions because we know to healthily live into the future fully embracing one another’s gifts, we need to examine the wounds we live with today with origins in the past. We think our nation will be stronger with similar examination.

It is critical for our elected leaders to hear the perspective of faith leaders in their districts, who express how this study is a critical matter of justice for our communities and a step towards addressing historic inequities in our nation. This is a critical moment for transformative change to meet the need for advancing racial equity. The ELCA resource, “How Strategic and Authentic is our Diversity?,” can be used to explore our commitments as church. More on H.R. 40 details can be found in the National Council of Churches talking point resource, “Faith & Facts for H.R. 40” and a recent letter sent to the White House in support of a commission.

Use the form below to send your message to the White House calling for a reparations study commission. Please customize with your local, faith-informed experience and perspective.

POSTED 6/17/2022


  • President Joseph 'Joe' R. Biden


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