The National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants (NAASD) has come out in support of the Slavery Remembrance Day resolution introduced by U.S. Rep. Al Green of Texas and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
The bill proposes that August 20 be designated Slavery Remembrance Day to “serve as a reminder of the evils of slavery.” The date is significant because that’s when the first slave ships landed in the American colonies in 1619. The bill was originally introduced on July 1 and reintroduced on Nov. 17.
NAASD is a grassroots community-based organization whose members represent the next generation of fighters for reparations and reparatory justice. Launched in January 2020, NAASD works to educate, organize, and mobilize the community around the principle that government at all levels is responsible for providing, committing to, and delivering a targeted, effective and specific social agenda to close the Black-white wealth gulf.
NAASD announced its support of the bill in a press release on Tuesday, Nov. 30. However, according to NAASD, the Slavery Remembrance Day bill needs to be expanded to include tangible reparations and policies. Members are calling on Rep. Green and Sen. Warren to support the R.E.P.A.I.R. Act they introduced in August.
An acronym for Reconciliation, Equity, Protections, Atonement, Investment and Remuneration, the 2021 R.E.P.A.I.R Act detail steps the Biden administration can take to advance reparative justice for Black American descendants of chattel slavery (BADOCS).
“With 2022 elections around the corner, we request Representative Green and Senator Warren to publicly support Priorities for Presidential Action as outlined in the R.E.P.A.I R. Act,” the release states. “We also want to provide a preview to some of the policy memos from the soon to be released 2022 R.E.P.A.I.R Act Atonement Series to be added to the Resolution for Slavery Remembrance Day, to create a more meaningful bill with a budget from National Forestry of no less than $1.25 Billion Dollars.”
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While NAASD acknowledged that some of the policies of the Biden administration make things more equitable for “people of color” in general, they said none help Black American Descendants of Chattel Slavery (BADOCS) specifically.
“The current Administration has issued an Executive Order on White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity for People of Color, the Senate voted Juneteenth to be recognized as a National Holiday and August 11th to be recognized as Hip Hop Celebration Day,” the release states. “None of these initiatives address the needs specifically for the Descendants of US Chattel Slavery or Freedmen.”
The atrocities that NAASD wants the bill to address include:
Warren and Green have yet to respond to NAASD, but they each shared why the Slavery Remembrance Bill is so important.
“The horrors of slavery can never be forgotten. We must acknowledge the dangers and dehumanization that enslaved people faced, and honor those who led the long fight for abolition and justice,” Warren said in a statement. “Today, the legacy of slavery still has pervasive impacts on the descendants of enslaved individuals in institutionalized racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, and in other forms.”
“This annual reminder is necessary because it teaches persons to denounce oppression while simultaneously exemplifying why it should be denounced,” Green added. “However, efforts to teach about the suffering of enslaved persons are being fought by states like Texas with its recent bill to curb how race and the history of racism are taught in schools. The Texas bill is dangerous because it limits teaching by excluding any mention of historic individuals who challenged the discriminatory status quo, such as Harriett Tubman (Araminta Ross) and John Brown. We must remember the history of slavery to avoid repeating the horrors of slavery.”
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