Carruthers said she believes the commission’s “awesome charge” has the “reconstitutive power to lead to a transformation and healing, not just of Virginia, but of this nation.”
“Virginia played an unparalleled role in the early history of America [and] so, too, can Virginia play an unparalleled role in this historic season in which, I believe, America’s very soul and very future is at stake.”
Carruthers implored the commission to create a framework that, at its core, is inclusive of – but not solely focused on – African Americans as objectified beings. She said equally as important are the causes, the individual and institutional systems of authority and privilege that often predetermined African American outcomes in everything from education to generational wealth.
“This commission is as much for the needs of white America to rid itself of the ills of racism and misplaced notions of superiority,” Carruthers said, “as it is for Black America to be healed from the harm done.”
She talked about reparations and cautioned the commission that today’s conversations should widely encompass the issue as a process of remembering, repairing, rejoining and reconciling evils that started in the past and exist today.
“Reparations can never be fulfilled – or reduced – to a financial transaction,” she said. “There’s not enough money in the world to compensate for the trauma and horror my fore parents experienced over the centuries.”
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