April 07, 2023

**Important information on how Americans around the world can advocate against the Office of Management and Budget's action (time-sensitive)**


Information from the Why We Can't Wait reparations coalition:

Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Statistical Policy Directive No. 15 defines minimum standards for collecting and presenting data on race and ethnicity for all federal reporting. 

You can view the initial proposals for updating the standards here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/01/27/2023-01635/initial-proposals-for-updating-ombs-race-and-ethnicity-statistical-standards… A previously tested definition of "Black or African American" is defined as "all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in any of the Black racial groups of Africa."… Obviously, this review process has implications for all marginalized populations. A sudden change in definition can cause great confusion for many Black Americans, reducing the number of those who self-identify as Black. This will be a deciding factor and could have a significant impact when thinking about the future (including use of Census Bureau data to distribute federal funds to certain communities) and specifically about how the federal government deems who is eligible for reparations for the legacy of enslavement. 

It is important that you weigh in on this review process. 

How to Comment on Regulations.gov:

From our coalition partners at the National Black Cultural Information Trust:



To submit public comment, go to: https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/OMB-2023-0001-0001

The deadline for public comment and weighing on the revision process is Thursday, April 27. You can submit a comment at the above link. We recommend using your own comment, the following sample comment, or copy and replace “We, the Reparations Task Force of Democrats Abroad” with “I” in this comment.

Please Note: Do not submit personally identifiable information through the OMB comment field. Any personally identifiable information (e.g., name, address, phone number) included in the comment form or in an attachment may be publicly disclosed in a docket or on the Internet (via Regulations.gov, a federal agency website, or a third-party, non-government website with access to publicly disclosed data on Regulations.gov). You can indicate your expertise or experience in this area without revealing personally identifiable information. 

Sample Comment

To the Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Standards at the Office of Management and Budget:

I oppose changing the name, description, and definition of the race category “Black or African American” for federal data collection, including for the U.S. Census. Accurately documenting the Black American population is of the highest priority. Our names and identifiers have historical precedence and value, and changing that will cause confusion and harm the accuracy of results. Additionally, I do not support adding the terms “slavery, slaves, freedman, or foundational” to the name and description of Black Americans. Consideration of such identification categories as “American Freedman” or “American Descendant of Slavery” will completely undermine accurate federal resource and funding allocation to programs and initiatives that aim to benefit Black communities. These are not universally accepted or used terms for present-day Black Americans. Though our ancestors endured slavery, slavery is not our ethnicity, and it is dehumanizing and inaccurate to make “slavery or slaves” a race category or an ethnic identifier. To accurately determine community needs and understand existing socio-economic impacts,  selecting “Black or African American” (U.S. national origin) is sufficient and is less likely to cause confusion or other issues.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue.