Today is a most auspicious day in the United States. The US Senate apologized to the African American community, for kidnapping and killing a nation of people, because privilege historically turns human beings into Slaves!
It is not the greatest gesture and it is also a start_
for deep healing and the reflective deep grace to come in.
The lessons we truly have to learn are in the origins of the definition of freedom, starting in the time in Europe that was the advent of the Renaissance, where it was defined that the experience of freedom must come at the expense of another.
Must freedom continue to be this limited truly?
Senate Apologizes For Slavery
All Things Considered, June 18, 2009 · The U.S. Senate apologized Thursday for slavery and for the segregationist Jim Crow laws, 144 years after the Civil War and 45 years after passing the Civil Rights Act.
The action came in a nonbinding resolution adopted unanimously by voice vote.
The Senate chamber was nearly empty as Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin rose to call for a measure that he said was long overdue for the descendants of 4 million blacks who were enslaved in the U.S.
"A national apology by the representative body of the people, is a necessary collective response to a past collective injustice," Harkin said. "So, it is both appropriate and imperative that Congress fulfill its moral obligation and officially apologize for slavery and Jim Crow laws."
The resolution states the congressional apology is made to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States for "the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors." That is followed, however, by a disclaimer that says nothing in the resolution authorizes any claim against the United States.
Kansas Republican Sam Brownback, who co-sponsored the measure, says that disclaimer was necessary to win the support of senators who feared the apology could be used by African-Americans seeking reparations.
"It was a difficult negotiation," he says. "We had to get the reparation issue right."
Last year, the House passed a similar resolution, but without the reparations disclaimer.
New York Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, says he isn't sure he supports the Senate's reparations disclaimer.
"If it ... can be construed to mean that ... it rules out [reparations], then that's a problem," Meeks says.
Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen, who sponsored last year's House resolution, says he hopes the House passes the Senate's apology soon, but he wants it done by voice vote.
"This should be a congenial, kumbaya moment," he says. "A roll call could expose some fissures in what should be a cohesive spirit of apology and rectitude and more perfect union."
*** Personally, I wish to mark this day with this link. (When you get there, you may actually have to click the link itself, at the top of the page_ again, to get it to load efficiently!)