Tell your representative to support H.R. 40: Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act

The House has introduced H.R. 40 – a bill that would set up a commission to examine the institution of slavery and its impact and make recommendations for reparations to Congress. Reps. Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore have signed on as co-sponsors.

We need your help to push this critical legislation forward: Please send a message to your representative and tell them to support H.R. 40 now.

The Feb 17 hearing featured one of the Japanese Americans who successfully pushed for redress after their family was rounded up by the U.S. government and locked in prison camps, and enforced an important message: That our country has provided reparations in the past, and H.R. 40 is a realistic mechanism to begin discussion on addressing the fundamental injustices of institutional slavery in the U.S.

We cannot adequately repair harms that we have not fully examined and discussed as a national priority. It's time our country accounts for hundreds of years of brutal mistreatment of Black people during chattel slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and the enduring structural racism endemic to our society.

H.R. 40 would create the framework for that necessary process of atonement. And if the latest rise of white supremacist expression shows us anything, it's that this crucial conversation must happen now. We must pass H.R. 40.


During slavery, Black people were ripped from their families and nations and forced to labor for the enrichment of America. After its "abolition," the emancipated were left to face the terrorism of widespread lynchings and targeted massacres. Those who survived were denied dignity in nearly every arena of life from criminal justice to economic security to health care – all harmful disparities that continue to pervade our systems and society to this day.

Reparations are not a symbolic act in response to these atrocities. Passing H.R. 40 provides a real and necessary demand for justice that has support and momentum.

Friend Of ACLU, if we ever hope to achieve racial justice in America, we must examine the impact of slavery and its legacy and make strides toward reparations. With a new Congress and new President, we have the opportunity to make this happen – through H.R. 40.

Please, urge your representative to support this important bill now.

Thanks for taking action,

Jennifer Bellamy
Pronouns: She, her, hers
ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel, fighting for racial justice