Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation
The Need for a Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Commission in the U.S.
A national commission, with the requisite independence and resources, is needed to develop a full and accurate historical record of the laws and legal systems that must be dismantled, rewritten, and reimagined to achieve racial equity and prosperity in this country.
A key goal of truth and reconciliation commissions is to prevent history from repeating itself by formally recognizing and addressing grievances, establishing a roadmap for strengthening institutions, and addressing the root causes of past conflict. The United States has consistently failed to heed lessons from its own history, determined it seems to repeat it instead.
Slavery was not eliminated as much as it was replaced over time with laws that reinforced the marginalization of Black people in our tax code, housing regulations, voting laws, criminal legal system, and other laws and systems.
Racism is baked into our laws, and even into our institutions that interpret and apply those laws. History will play on repeat until this legal infrastructure is not just modified but dismantled and then built anew with the goal of lived equality.
This work – truth, racial healing, and transformation – involves all of us. ACS invites its student and lawyer chapters, and all ACS members to join in reckoning with our laws and institutions, and in reimagining a legal system that is grounded in racial equality and justice.