Newswire: NAARC applauds reparations conversation by 2020 presidential contenders

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Dr. Ron Daniels


(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The National African-American Reparations Commission (NAARC) applauds several presidential contenders for their recent expressed interest in reparations and calls on all the candidates to prioritize reparatory justice as an issue of importance to Black voters in the weeks and months ahead.
NAARC is also calling on all 2020 candidates, as well as other lawmakers, to support HR40, the reparations bill authored by former US Cong. John Conyers, which has languished in Congress since 1989. HR-40, which was reintroduced in the 115th Congress, was developed in consultation with NAARC.
It calls for establishing a federal commission to study reparations proposals for African-Americans that would repair the horrific socio-economic damages caused by the enslavement and generations of racially exclusive/discriminatory policies and practices post-emancipation.
The current reparations conversation, namely being forged by candidates Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, is especially relevant in light of the fact that 2019 marks the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of Africans in chains in Virginia, which opened the era of slavery, one of the most sordid chapters in U.S. history.
“In general, the recent statements by presidential candidates are a positive development,” said Dr. Ron Daniels, Convener of NAARC and President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW). “They reflect an increasing body of scholarship that definitively draws the connection between the enslavement of Africans and the persistent wealth-gap and underdevelopment of Black America.”
Candidates are also responding to the growing, multifaceted reparations movement in this country and to the fact that in recent public opinion polls, reparations now enjoys the support of a majority of African-Americans as well as from a growing percentage of young White millennial voters.
“NAARC stands ready to educate and orient candidates and legislators on the definition, background, process, internationally accepted norms and historical precedents for reparations to repair damages inflicted on peoples and nations. Hopefully, this will enrich the public dialogue on this vital issue,” added Dr. Daniels.
NAARC was established in April 2015 at a National/International Reparations Summit convened by IBW in New York City. The nonpartisan Commission is comprised of distinguished Black leaders from across the U.S. in the fields of law, education, public health, economic development, religion, labor, civil and human rights.
For decades, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA) has been a leading force advancing the struggle for reparations in the U.S. Kamm Howard, National Co-Chairperson of NCOBRA and a NAARC Commissioner, welcomes the surge in support for reparations by the presidential candidates but insists that the discussion and debate be centered around reparations as full repair.
“The international standard holds that reparations ‘must wipe out all consequences’ of the wrongful acts committed against enslaved Africans,” said Howard. “To get us to full repair, policies programs and practices must be developed to produce the following outcomes: cessation and guarantees of non-repetition, restitution, compensation, satisfaction, and rehabilitation. These are the intended outcomes of HR 40. The candidates, some of whom are Senators, should craft a Senate companion bill. This can be done now if they are serious about their support for reparations.”
To help frame the public discourse and as a guide for action by governmental and private entities, NAARC has devised a comprehensive and detailed 10-point reparations program that addresses the issues of repair and restitution. The creation of a National Reparations Trust Fund is among the proposals outlined in the NAACRC Reparations Program.
The Authority would receive funding grants, scholarships, land and other forms of restitution to benefit the collective advancement of Black America. It would be comprised of a cross-section of credible representatives of reparations, civil rights, and human rights, labor, faith, educational, civic and fraternal organizations and institutions.
The Authority would be empowered to establish subsidiary trust funds to administer projects and initiatives in the areas of culture, economic development, education, health and other fields as deemed appropriate based on the demands of the Reparations Program (https://bit.ly/2T0MhZt).
To increase public awareness of the Program, NAARC has convened initial Hearings and Town Hall Meetings in Atlanta and New Orleans and plans to hold additional sessions in a number of cities across the country.

Newswire :  The unfulfilled power of the Black vote

 News Analysis By: Dr. Ron Daniels

 

 

Black voting protest

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – For decades I have been hammering home the point that in a low voter participation environment, the group that effectively educates, mobilizes and organizes its voters to turn-out on election day will wield power disproportionate to its numbers in the overall electorate. Put another way, a relatively small group that registers and turns out a high percentage of its potential voters will exercise greater influence than a much larger group that fails to register and turn-out a high percentage of its potential voters. This is a Daniels political axiom. And, as Frank Watkins, Advisor to Rev. Jesse Jackson puts it, “a organized minority is a political majority.” The United States has the lowest voter participation rate of any of the western democracies. I have suggested somewhat facetiously that the biggest political party in the U.S. is not the Democrats or Republicans but non-voters. A voter turn-out in this country in the range of 50-55% of the eligible electorate is hailed by political commentators as spectacular. This is absolutely abysmal when compared to western democracies where voter turn-out is routinely 80% or better. But, the reality of this low voter participation environment creates a major opportunity for Black voters to exercise power disproportionate to our numbers in the electorate. We may be out-numbered by Whites, but a large percentage of Whites don’t bother to vote. It is not by accident that Republicans are openly implementing polices to suppress or disenfranchise Black voters. They fear the Black vote. The forces of reaction realize that if Blacks maximize voter registration and mobilize/organize large voter turn-outs, it is a threat to their retrograde agenda. Rev. Jesse L. Jackson has relentlessly urged Black folks to register and vote in massive numbers to maximize our political power. At a session during the recent Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, he shared data that illuminates the unfulfilled power of the Black vote. He noted that there are still 8 million Blacks who are not registered to vote, 4 million in the South. In 2016 some 2.5 million Blacks, who were registered, failed to vote in an election which was determined by less than 100,000 votes total in key battleground states with a large concentration of Black voters! Rev. Jackson’s point is that a potent key to political resistance and transformation is in Black hands, the ballot. The challenge is to organize/mobilize and turn-out the unorganized, Black people who, for whatever reason, do not believe that voting matters as a means of changing their lives. There is increasing evidence that a new generation of Black leaders, particularly women and young people, understand the potential of the Black vote as foundational to coalitions that can beat back the conservative tide of Trumpism by advancing people-centered, progressive policies. Stacey Abrams has an excellent chance to become the first Black Governor of Georgia by educating and inspiring hundreds of thousands of unregistered, “improbable” Black voters to register and turn-out in massive numbers on election day. Ben Jealous has launched a grassroots campaign to employ the same formula in Maryland. The polls in Boston showed Ayanna Pressley trailing long term Congressman Michael Capuano by 10 points among “probable” voters in the Democratic Primary. She won by more than 10 points because she organized/mobilized the unorganized; the improbable voters showed up in massive numbers as the anchor of her progressive coalition. Rev. Jackson points out that in Florida Andrew Gillum, who shocked the pundits by winning the Democratic primary for Governor, can win because there are more than 1.8 million Blacks who are eligible to register in that state coupled with more than 300,000 recently arrived Puerto Ricans who fled the Island in the wake of Hurricane Maria. When the improbable voters from these constituencies are energized to march on the ballot box, there is a very high probability that Gillum will become the first African American Governor of Florida. It is important to note that in the instances cited above, only 15 percent – 20 percent of forward-thinking White voters are needed to achieve victory. The Daniels’ Axiom applies: In a low voter participation environment, where large numbers of Whites will remain unregistered or will not vote, all that is required is for the unorganized, the improbable voters in the Black community and our allies to mobilize/organize and turn-out in massive numbers to achieve victory! So, the mandate is clear; Black leaders must devise strategies to educate, motivate, inspire and energize millions of unregistered, improbable Black voters to burst into the arena to become the cornerstone of progressive coalitions. These coalitions of the improbable have the potential to fundamentally alter the political landscape in the U.S. by ushering in an era of resistance to Trumpism and more importantly advancing progressive policies which can create a new America! Dr. Ron Daniels is President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and Distinguished Lecturer Emeritus, York College City University of New York. Dr. Daniels can be reached via email at info@ibw21.org