Monday, June 30, 2008

Has it really only just begun?

Did you catch this? A few months ago, the Florida legislature passed a resolution apologizing to its African-American citizens for allowing slavery there all those years ago (before the Civil War ended it).

I gather the state government of Florida has never formally made an apology for its legacy of involuntary servitude, so there's certainly nothing wrong with this resolution. But there was also this, from one African-American Florida lawmaker:

"Several black lawmakers, especially Senator Anthony C. Hill Sr., Democrat of Jacksonville, have been pushing for a public apology since last year. ..The Florida resolution expressed “profound regret” for the state’s role “in sanctioning and perpetuating involuntary servitude upon generations of African slaves.” It did not use the word apology, but Mr. Hill said the statement’s intent was clear. “At the end of the day we said three words: ‘I am sorry,’ ” he said. “I think now we can begin the healing process of reconciliation.”

Goodness. So we can now only "begin" that process? Florida has long accepted the end of the war; it has accepted the 13th amendment, constitutionally banning slavery; it enforces the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And as the article pointed out:

"Florida has made other efforts to address the consequences of institutional racism; in 1994, the state allocated $2.1 million to surviving victims of the Rosewood massacre, the 1923 attack on a black town in North Florida."

Hasn't Florida, along with the rest of the country, done more than just "begin" the process of reconciliation??? Must this type of "conversation" go on forever? Just asking.