U.S. Based Liberian Activist Calls for Inclusion of Liberia In Congressional Reparation Bills

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – As the foundation for American democracy undergoes unprecedented tests, momentum grows for healing and uniting the deeply divided “United” States of America. Members of Congress are considering new laws that aim to address systemic injustices derived from racism and slavery. Rev. Torli H. Krua, Founder of the Universal Human Rights International (UHRI) and the Free Liberia Movement early this week called on the Massachusetts Delegation to the US Congress to include Liberia in bills that aim to mitigate the harm of American Colonization, officially sanctioned racism and slavery.

The proposal was contained in communications to Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts who has championed Liberian immigration initiatives for decades.

On January 18, 2023, a group of American clergies, led by Rev Krua joined Liberians in presenting a petition for US Visa Waiver for all Liberians at the US Embassy in Monrovia. With no response from the US Government, a rally is being planned at the US Embassy on July 3, 2023, to demand an answer to the petition. Presently, 40 countries enjoy visa waivers, of which there is not a single African nation.

Immediately following the Liberian Visa Waiver Petition in Monrovia on January 18, 2023, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on January 24, 2023, introduced S.40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, legislation that would establish a commission to consider proposals for reparations for African American descendants of slavery:

“To address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.

The legislation is the Senate companion to H.R. 40, introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18). Liberia and American Colonization were not included in the congressional reparations initiative.

The Commission will study the impact of slavery and the continuing discrimination against African-Americans and will make recommendations on reparation proposals for the descendants of slaves. “Without the inclusion of Liberia, the harm of officially sanctioned racism continues to thrive in Liberia with devastating consequences for descendants of Americans and indigenous Africans lives ravaged by American Colonization and slavery.” Rev. Krua said.

“Our nation must reckon with its dark past of slavery and its continued oppression of African Americans, fueled by white supremacy and racism,” said Senator Booker. “Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded Black individuals. I urge my colleagues to support this bill that will address the institutional racism that has suppressed African Americans’ prosperity throughout our history and bring our country one step closer to our founding principles of liberty and justice for all.”

With the growing influence of Russia and China in Africa, the United States is anxious to improve its relationships with African nations. Historically, America sided with racists, and imperialists colonizing Africa. Therefore, America needs to mitigate the harm through public confession and reparation before improving its relationship with African nations.

Reparation, by definition, is the making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged. War reparations are compensation payments made after a war by one side to the other. They are intended to cover damage or injury inflicted during a war. On January 21, 2023, Canada agreed to pay US$2 billion, to settle the latest in a series of lawsuits seeking reparations for the harm done to Indigenous people through a system of mandatory residential schools that a national commission called “cultural genocide.”

Commending Senator Booker, Representative Jackson Lee said: “I am pleased to thank Senator Cory Booker for introducing the Senate version of the Commission to Study Slavery and Develop Reparations Proposals Act. His introduction of this bill in the Senate is pivotal to the success of this legislation in the 118th Congress. I’m further pleased that Senator Booker, with his storied history of civil rights leadership, sees the value of legislation that takes a historical look at slavery and then works collectively to assess the repair of that era in American history.”

She continued: “I believe that the Commission to Study Slavery and Develop Reparation Proposals Act is a crucial piece of legislation that will complement the House version, HR 40. This legislation, both the House and Senate version, goes beyond exploring the economic implications of slavery and segregation but is a holistic approach to reconciling that period of American history. This bill will allow for a moral and social overview of the implications of slavery and the status of African Americans today. I look forward to working with Senator Booker in a bipartisan manner to get this bill through the House and Senate and onto the President’s desk. America will truly be the beneficiary!”

The legislation is cosponsored by dozens of senators, including both US Senators from Massachusetts, Ed Markey (D-MA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). One hundred twenty members of Congress are cosponsors of the House Bill. Additionally, over 190 organizations working to advance civil rights in America have endorsed the legislation. A list of those organizations can be found here, while the full text of the legislation can be found here. The House companion bill can be found here and US Visa Waiver Petition can be found here.

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