Create a US Truth and Reconciliation Commission

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America, please listen to me, we need to define the relationship.

“We can’t agree on anything anymore.  As a country, we just can’t agree.  We just fight about everything. We can’t even agree on Black Lives Matter.  That’s a controversial statement.  Black Lives Matter.  Not matters more than you, just matters.” – noted social commentator Michael Che

In an environment where a substantial number of our neighbors, fellow residents, and even national leaders and representatives will not and cannot bring themselves to even utter the words #blacklivesmatter, will not even engage in discussion to show the lowest level of empathy, and will not acknowledge that our Black brothers, sisters, and non-binary friends and neighbors have inherent worth, we need to have a talk. 

I am a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in the Republic of South Africa after the fall of Apartheid.  When South Africa was developing their new post-Apartheid Constitution, our South African friends looked to us in the United States for inspiration, let us look to them now. 

In 1996, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was set up by the government of South Africa to help the nation heal from the abuses that occurred under apartheid.  No section of South African society escaped the effects of these abuses.  South Africans knew that there needed to be a national level dialogue and response to the pervasive racism that afflicted the country. 

It’s a conversation that South Africa had and continues to have, and that we, here in the US, have not.

What was done to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others who have been subjected to brutality is a symptom of systemic institutional racism that we as Americans have failed to address.  Let their deaths not have been in vain.

We can challenge and change the status quo, we already are.  The time to act decisively is now.  We are at a historical nexus, what we do or fail to do will have ramifications for the generations after us.

We the undersigned demand a formal national level inquiry on how to heal our nation from the continuing scourge of systemic institutional racism and support the creation of a United States Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

It’s a national dialogue that is long overdue.

#USTRC #blacklivesmatter