Faith leaders urge Biden to sign executive order for reparations study by Juneteenth

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — More than 200 interfaith leaders have requested that President Joe Biden establish a commission to study reparations for African Americans by signing an executive order by the newly recognized federal holiday Juneteenth.“Our faith traditions hold as central the essential worth of each person as having been created in the image of God,” wrote the leaders in a Tuesday (Feb. 28) letter co-organized by the National Council of Churches and Faith for Black Lives. “Our faith also teaches the importance of contrition and restoration when we commit acts of wrongdoing that denigrate others.”
They urged Biden to base an order on the structure of H.R. 40, legislation proposed for decades that has yet to pass on Capitol Hill, and sign it by the date of the June 19 federal holiday, which marks the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Texas learned they were free.
Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, the NCC’s interim president and general secretary, said in a statement, quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., that the letter “speaks to the fierce urgency of now to preserve American democracy through reparative justice.”
Added the Rev. Stephen A. Green, who chairs the advocacy organization Faith for Black Lives: “(A)s attempts to erase Black History continue across the nation, it is imperative that we respond with a federal approach to address the harms and vestiges of slavery and segregation.”
The lead …

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