Referencing Steven Thompson’s letter (Oct. 25 Tribune), Thompson responds to Peter Gorki’s letter (Oct. 22 Tribune) by posing five questions related to House of Representatives Bill HR 40, which proposes to investigate the possibility of making reparations to African-Americans for slavery and its lingering effects.

While Thompson’s questions are not completely unreasonable, they are premature, and they serve to obscure the point of Gorski’s letter as well as the main premise of HR 40.

If passed, HR 40 would provide funding to establish a commission to study and consider a possible proposal for reparations for slavery and its subsequent racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans.

According to the bill, reparations could come in many forms -- a formal apology, public education, policy reform. Financial remedies are only one of the possibilities.

In his letter, Thompson indicates his questions need to be answered by supporters of HR 40; however, HR 40 is a vehicle to discover the answers. How can anyone be expected to answer the questions without doing the research?

It’s possible that some forms of reparations may not be indicated, but an official study by the federal government of the impact of slavery on the social, political and economic life of our nation certainly is warranted and could go far in helping to right the ongoing wrongs of systemic and institutional racism.

We have called Rep. Kind to bring his attention to this bill and ask that he support it. We encourage others to do the same.

Alice Benson and Kathy Casper, La Crosse

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