Thu | May 13, 2021

Black group calls on Biden to support reparations bill

Published:Saturday | February 27, 2021 | 12:06 AM

A United States-based civil rights group is calling on President Joe Biden to register his support for the black community by passing a bill calling for reparations and ‘appropriate remedies for slavery’.

In an open letter to the president, the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC), ‘an authoritative body comprised of leading African-American reparations advocates, scholars, faith, professional and political leaders’, noted, “... we issue an urgent call for you to place reparations for the brutal enslavement of Africans (our ancestors) and crippling post-emancipation racially exclusionary policies on your action agenda for the first 100 days of your administration. President Biden, the path to advance the issue of reparations decisively forward is clear; we strongly implore you to vigorously support the passage of HR-40 in the House of Representatives and S.40 in the Senate to establish a Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African-Americans.”

INCEPTION AND PROGRESSION

The bill, first introduced by Congressman John Conyers, Jr in 1989, garnered less than 50 Co-Sponsors but was reintroduced by Conyers every year until it was taken over by Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee who served as lead sponsor for the bill, and saw a record 173 members of the House of Representatives signed on as Co-Sponsors, including the late iconic civil rights leaders Congressmen John Lewis and Elijah Cummings.

Its requirements include ‘identifying; the role of the federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and lingering negative effects of slavery on living African-Americans and society.’

Even as it noted the significance of Vice-President Kamala Harris’ nomination and victory ‘as not only the first woman, but a black woman with Caribbean and Asian heritage’ as a milestone in the history of this nation, the group pointed to an inertia in successive Democratic administrations.

In a scathing criticism of the party, the NAARC said, “Mr President, with a COVID pandemic and unchecked pandemic of police violence continuing to wreak havoc on our communities, African-Americans are “sick and tired” of the Democratic Party seldom, if ever, respecting or rewarding black voters in proportion to our support or our needs.” It also called for support of the bill within the black community. See full letter at reparationscomm.org