Cory Booker Intros Reparations Bill
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a 2020 presidential candidate, on Monday introduced legislation to form a commission for the study of reparation proposals for African Americans. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) first introduced a House version of the bill in January. The Commission would aim to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African Americans and will make recommendations on reparation proposals for the descendants of slaves. During a CNN town hall, Booker said he was frustrated by the question of reparations being posed to all the presidential candidates, because “it's being reduced to just a box to check on a presidential list when this is so much more of a serious conversation." Upon introducing the measure, he pointed out the overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that stemmed from slavery that continue to oppressed African Americans economically. “Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded blacks through practices like GI Bill discrimination and redlining,” Booker said. “This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country. It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.” Former MI Congressman John Conyers introduced a reparations bill in every Congress since 1989, though it never went anywhere. Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA) suggested that action on a reparations measure is all but certain with Democrats now in control of the lower chamber, and the idea is gaining prominence on the national stage. At last week’s National Action Network conference hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton, all candidates who appeared said they support reparations though there was no discussion on how such a policy would be achieved. More on Booker’s bill here.