Edit H.R. 40: The Reparations Bill for Black Americans

In light of so many injustices and inequalities disproportionately affecting Black American families,  It is clear that we need racial justice in America. It is time for reparations.

In the past, activation of a study commission has been a first step toward establishing a program of redress for grievous injustice. For example, before the enactment of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 — enabling legislation for reparations payments to Japanese Americans as compensation for their unjust incarceration during World War II — Congress created the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC).

The CWRIC produced a study, Personal Justice Denied, that accomplishes two critical goals. First, it demonstrated that American officialdom had credible evidence that Japanese Americans were not a national security threat but still proceeded with the internment project. Second, it outlined a program of restitution.

As a prelude to a comprehensive program of reparations for Black Americans, a parallel commission should be mobilized to produce a report that details the case and a plan for restitution. HR 40 provides the opportunity to establish such a commission.

Unfortunately, there are some limitations to the text of HR 40. Creation of an effective commission to make Black reparations a reality requires rewriting portions of the bill.

Dr. “Sandy” Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen sent a letter to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who is the sponsor of the legislation, has not made the necessary changes to the legislation. Read the edits here.

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