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Reparations Case Over Racial Discrimination Against Black Veterans Moves Forward After Judge Denies Motion Dismissal  


On March 29th, a significant decision by a Federal District Court Judge in Connecticut allowed the lawsuit, Monk v. United States, against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to proceed. Conversations of reparations for Black veterans come after many were faced with housing, education, and disability benefits discrimination since the G.I. Bill was established post-World War II. Conley Monk Jr., a plaintiff, faced numerous rejections for various veteran benefits spanning over four decades, reflecting a systemic bias that his father also encountered post-World War II.


Judge Stefan R. Underhill ruled against the government’s claim that the court lacked jurisdiction, allowing the case to continue based on allegations of racial discrimination and its psychological impacts. This makes Monk v. United States a pivotal federal reparations case that has surpassed a motion to dismiss—a rarity in U.S. history.


“My father fought at Normandy. My brother fought in Vietnam. My sister and another brother as well as myself served. And we will not stop fighting until VA treats all veterans equally,” said Garry Monk, Executive Director, National Veterans Council for Legal Redress. “Today is an important moment in the struggle for justice for Black veterans, whose service and sacrifice VA has ignored for generations.”


Richard Brookshire of the Black Veterans Project described the case as crucial for addressing the long-standing racial injustices within the VA, which he claims have perpetuated economic losses for Black veterans and their families. Michael Wishnie of Yale Law School highlighted the Black Veterans Project's role in bringing to light the discriminatory practices of the VA.


Garry Monk emphasized the ongoing fight for equal treatment by the VA, while Daniele Anderson hopes the case prompts wider recognition of the systemic barriers faced by Black veterans. Daniel Walker pointed out that the decision marks a significant step in acknowledging and addressing historical injustices faced by Black veterans, viewing it as a move towards broader justice and recognition of their struggles.


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