This Thursday, June 16, 2022, a press conference began in front of a massive floral installation in the shape of the Pan-African flag, measuring 150′ x 50′, which had been created on the Ellipse in front of the White House by a broad coalition of civil and human rights groups.
The NCC joined with our partners in the coalition to call on US President Joe Biden to issue an executive order to study the harms of the legacy of enslavement and develop reparations proposals. The coalition included the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA), The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Color Of Change, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Black Voters Matter, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Human Rights Watch, and other members of the Why We Can’t Wait coalition. The “Juneteenth #ReparationsNow Garden Installation” can be viewed on the Ellipse today until 8pm ET and Saturday from 8am-5pm ET. On Sunday from 12pm-2pm ET, the plants and mulch will be given away.
Near the beginning of the press conference, the Secret Service alerted the gathering to a security threat and made those in attendance move to a location about 100 feet away. After waiting for two hours without any further explanation, the speakers resumed the press conference on the sidewalk.
Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Esq., NCC Associate General Secretary of Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace, was not deterred and made her remarks amid the street noise:
“Many of us have been watching the televised January 6th hearings. The hearings seek to get to the truth of the insurrection attempt by white supremacist groups that violently stormed the capitol with the intent to overturn the will of the people in the 2020 national election. People died that day and the lives of others were threatened. At the center of the committee’s premise is that these terrorist did what they did based on “the big lie.”
The truth is that America has been built upon the biggest lie. America was built on the lie that we are a democracy when democracy was aborted before it was ever born. When all white male, land owning, enslavers, sympathizers of enslavers, and those willing to acquiesce to chattel slavery, as a compromise, intentionally excluded the first people of this land and people of African descent as part of the “We” or the “People” in the revered preamble to our glorified constitution.
The lie that black people were no more than animals prevailed well before the 20 and aught stolen and enslaved persons arrived from Angola on the White Lion in 1619. That lie is in the DNA of this nation. That lie is soaked in the ground from the blood of the enslaved and in the mindset and spirit of those who perpetuated the massacres in Tulsa, Mother Emanual AME church, the Topps grocery store in Buffalo NY, the January 6th insurrection, and acts of hatred and violence in between, since and to come. It is also reflected in redlining, the criminal legal system, unfair housing, the education system, and so on and so on. Jesus tells us that the truth will set you free. If truth is freedom lies are bondage.
I am reminded of the warning from the Prophet Jeremiah speaking for God saying:
They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
saying, “Peace, peace,”
when there is no peace.
They acted shamefully, they committed abomination;
yet they were not ashamed,
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
Until we reckon with our past our future is fragile. The Commission to Study and Develop reparation Proposals for African Americans by Executive Order from President Joseph Robinett Biden will be a step towards making a more just future for all. The work of this commission will codify the truth and we will then be on the path to being “we the people”. This is a Kairos moment where opportunity meets God’s timing. We Can’t wait!”
A Reuters news reporter asked Rev. Alexander, “Why do you say we can’t wait?” to which she responded, “We are preparing for a bloody summer. The concern is that groups like those who were part of the January 6th insurrection are gathering all over the country. They are growing an army. We are fighting for our right to fight for our freedom!”