State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta (pictured), is proposing that the state of Georgia adopt a resolution that formally apologizes for the unjust institution of slavery as well as past segregationist laws, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The push for the apology has reportedly gotten a cool reception from some Georgia legislators who argue that it would do no good now to apologize for past mistakes. Politicos like Glenn Richardson, former Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, is apparently not a fan of Brooks’ idea, publicly stating, “I’m not sure what we ought to be apologizing for. Nobody here was in office.” Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has said he was skeptical about the sincerity of an apology from those in office today. Still Brooks feels impassioned about his proposal and sent a copy of the legislation he intends to file before the start of January’s session.
Brooks is head of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, and also rallied round an apology from Georgia back in 2007, but it never gained any momentum.
In addition to the apology, Brooks is also proposing legislation to raise the state’s minimum wage and a another that would put a much-needed end to racial profiling by police.
Brooks, a long-time civil rights leader, was indicted by a grand jury earlier this year for allegedly misappropriating nearly $1 million in charitable funds; he has pleaded not guilty. Brooks is set to go to trial next April to face federal fraud charges, but in the meantime, here are some excerpts from the apology proposal:
WHEREAS, throughout their existence in America and even in the decades after the Civil Rights Movement, African-Americans have found the struggle to overcome the bitter legacy of slavery long and arduous, and for many African-Americans the scars left behind are unbearable, haunting their psyches and clouding their vision of the future and of America’s many attributes;
WHEREAS, the perpetual pain, distrust, and bitterness of many African-Americans could be assuaged and the principles espoused by the Founding Fathers would be affirmed, and great strides toward unifying all Georgians and inspiring the nation to acquiesce might be accomplished, if on the eve of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in the New World, the state acknowledged and atoned for its pivotal role in the slavery of Africans.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA that this body expresses profound regret for this state’s participation in the process of slavery, further atones for the involuntary servitude of Africans, and calls for reconciliation among all Georgians.