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House Bill 851 Health & Government Operations Committee Testimony


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The American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) Advocacy Foundation is a national grassrootsadvocacy organization with statewide Chapters across the nation. Its mission is to secure lineagebasedreparations for descendants of U.S. chattel slavery from the federal government and to advocate for a transformative Black agenda.i Maryland ADOS is a statewide Chapter with members across the State and whose mission is aligned with the national ADOS Advocacy Foundation. Maryland ADOS supports House Bill 851 with amendments.

This bill seeks to establish a Maryland Reparations Commission to: 1) Develop a program and protocol for “compensatory benefits” to individuals who descend from enslaved persons in Maryland; 2) Determine eligibility for benefits administered; 3) Require “State agencies to assist the Commission in a certain manner; 4) Pay certain cash sums to certain applicants; and 5) Reimburse certain applicants for certain tuition payments.”

Problems with the Bill
The bill has three main problems – 1) The State has insufficient monies to reimburse for the centuries-long structural racism and pillage rooted in enslavement for descendants of chattel slavery in this State; 2) Fails to specify how State agencies should assist the Commission; and 3) Includes “three representatives of communities with HIGH MINORITY populations.”

Amendments to the Bill
ADOS Maryland supports the establishment of a Maryland Reparations Commission for the
limited purpose of:

1) Requiring all State and County agencies to design a disaggregation data plan and protocol within the Black/African American racial category for collection, analysis, and reporting;

2) Include two (2) representatives from the ADOS Maryland Chapter on the Commission selected by the Executive Council of the Chapter that has experience in race relations and advocacy;

3) Include on the Commission one (1) individual from two (2) families who descend from an enslaved person(s) in Maryland to be selected by Loyola University’s Task Force Examining Loyola’s Connections to Slavery and Goucher College’s Hallowed Ground Project;

4) Include an economist on the Commission to calculate unpaid wages for the enslaved in Maryland; and

5) Establishing a Governor’s Commission on ADOS Affairs and appointing two (2) members from the ADOS Maryland Chapter selected by the Executive Council of the Chapter.

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