Will hold 3:30PM Ceremony & Press Availability at White House Gate
Baltimore, MD — Rev. Dr. Robert Turner, Senior Pastor of Empowerment Temple AME Church announced plans today to walk 40 miles from his church in Baltimore to the White House, on February 20, Presidents’ Day. The purpose for the “40 for 40 Walk” is to call attention to the long history of failure by the U.S. government to grant reparations for enslavement of African Americans, and post-emancipation racially exclusionary policies.
“America had sixteen Presidents who presided over slavery,” Rev. Turner noted. “Thirty Presidents later, President Biden has the opportunity and an obligation make right on what America has gotten wrong since 1776, her mistreatment of Blacks.”
The President’s Day Walk is the fifth since he assumed the helm as Pastor of Empowerment Temple AME Church. The most recent walk was January 16th on Martin Luther King Day. On that day, Rev. Turner pointed to Dr. King’s speech at the March on Washington where chastised America for failing to cash the “Promissory Note” of freedom, equality, and opportunity guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Rev. Turner announced that the HR-40 Strategy Group, a broad coalition of reparations organizations and leaders who have been working with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, lead Sponsor on HR-40, will join him for the President’s Day Walk. Institute of the Black World 21stCentury President Dr. Ron Daniels, Facilitator of the Strategy Group, indicated that the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People, The National Urban League, National African American Reparations Commission, Network Lobby, Reparations United, Who We Are Project, National Council of Churches, McCormick Theological Seminary, Center for Reparatory Justice, Transformation, and Remediation, and the Japanese American Citizens League are among the organizations that have committed to participate in the President’s Day Walk so far.
“I’m pleased that the HR 40 Strategy Group, civil rights legacy organizations, faith leaders and allies will be on hand to support and participate in the President’s Day Walk. It will be an opportunity to highlight the injustices of police violence and widespread voter suppression in the Black community and the urgent need to pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act. These ongoing injustices help make the case for reparations,” Dr. Daniels said.
Rev. Turner will depart from Empowerment Temple on Presidents’ Day for the 14-hour, 40 mile walk to the nation’s Capital. He will carry a 400-rose wreath to place at the gate of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Each rose symbolizes a year of chattel slavery and oppression endured by African Americans without America atoning for one of its original sins. Rev. Turner and the contingent walking with him will be met at the gate of the White House at a Ceremony organized by the HR-40 Strategy Group. Representatives of various organizations will speak at the Ceremony.
“I am inspired and encouraged by the growing number of organizations and leaders that are joining this monumental effort to achieve reparations for African Americans through the establishment of the HR-40 Commission by Executive Order,” said Rev. Turner. “We want Joe Biden to hear our voices on President’s Day. It’s time for reparations. It’s time for HR-40!”
David Inoue, Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League stated:
“Our experience as a Japanese American community is that the government has the capacity to commit great injustice against a group of people, but it also has the ability to apologize and provide reparation. We will be bringing over 1,000 origami cranes on behalf of our community with the wish that just as a commission was established to determine the wrongs inflicted upon the Japanese American community during WWII, that the President will act to establish a similar commission in alignment with the HR 40 legislation proposed by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee to discern a path towards national healing.”
- Rev. Dr. Robert Turner, Senior Pastor, Empowerment Temple, Baltimore, MD
- Kamm Howard, Commissioner, National African American Reparations Commission
- A 40- mile walk from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. to call attention to the long history of failure by the U.S. government to grant reparations for enslavement of African Americans, and post-emancipation racially exclusionary policies.
- Monday, February 20, 2023
- Starting Point: Carroll Park on Route 1, Baltimore, MD
- Ending Point: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC @ 3:30PM