Establish the "Office of Freedmen Affairs" in the state of Maryland

Establish the "Office of Freedmen Affairs" in the state of Maryland

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Capitol Accountability Project started this petition to Maryland General Assembly/ Maryland Candidates

In 1863, after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued and the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, the 38th US Congress was so inclined to secure the liberty, health and welfare of the newly refugeed emancipated Freedmen that they created The Freedmen’s Bureau.  Its purpose was to address the injustice created and nurtured by American Chattel Slavery and the backlash of its end.  Although emancipated, greed, white supremacy and bigotry abound.  The Bureau was sabotaged with theft and gross mismanagement resulting in its dismantling. The multiple nationwide offices, including those in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, created over its 7-year existence were all closed. Millions of Freedmen were left vulnerable to the ever-mounting backlash of white domestic terror and the emerging Black Codes and Jim Crow laws that followed.

It is now 2022, almost a Century and a half later and the grave effects of the closing of those offices are still being felt by the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of those Freedmen today.  During its years of operation, the Freedmen's Bureau provided Freedmen with services like food security, safe housing, hospitals, negotiating labor contracts, settling labor disputes, legalizing marriages, locating lost/displaced relatives and assisting Freedmen Veterans.  Although there has been civil and social progress over the years, today these inequities that damaged Freedmen and their Bureau still exist.  Especially since the Coronavirus pandemic, these inequities were exposed as Covid-19 exploded in Freedmen communities.  The failures of State and Federal Governments to establish and/or enforce legislation to adequately protect those Freedmen as full American citizens after Emancipation are still present today.

Capitol Accountability Project and the Freedmen of Maryland are calling on to establish The Office of Freedmen Affairs for the Freedmen in the State of Maryland. This office will address the generations long harms facing our communities. 

The State of Maryland has established an Office of New Americans to help lay a civic and social foundation for the new immigrant population and yet has not fulfilled its obligation to the Freedmen of her State whom she once enslaved and owes a debt of Reparations.  The Office of Freedmen Affairs shall address these systemic inequities and the historic benign neglect endured by Freedmen of the State of Maryland to create a stronger, more equitable Maryland - a Maryland the Founding Fathers spoke of when they said, "with liberty and justice FOR ALL".

 

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