Author Bio

David Ragland, PhD is one of the co-founders and co-executive director of the Truth Telling Project and the director of the Grassroots Reparations Campaign. In 2019, David was inducted into Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College. David currently teaches in Ecopsychology, Depth Psychology and Community Liberation at Pacifica Graduate Institute


Despite the rise of the Western human rights regime in the years following WWII, Black communities suffered from continuous human rights abuses. The work of the Truth Telling Project during the Ferguson movement discovered flaws in Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) models when applied to Black liberation struggles in the United States. TRCs were situated as a human rights tool within international civil society to address the abuses of nation-states, corporations and individuals who committed crimes against humanity; however, the needs of the age in which we live in the United States require truth-telling that can reveal historical exclusions. Furthermore, the fields that teach about peace and human rights need to substantively challenge the narrative of human rights as they impact and exclude the experience of Black liberation struggles. This article contends that truth-telling is a practice rooted firmly in Black liberation struggles and critical race theory and that it is a decolonial practice that must inform the fields of peace education, human rights education and research areas that influence future iterations of truth processes. Truth-telling in this sense is a public pedagogy and a radical act toward liberation that must lead to reparations that address the historic harms against Black people and transform extractive relationships in the neoliberal configuration of human rights.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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