WASHINGTON – Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) told PJM that the federal government should conduct a study of reparations for descendants of slaves to be able to determine the best way to “repair some of the damage” that slavery has caused to the African-American community.
Jackson Lee became the lead sponsor of H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, after Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) resigned from Congress.
The legislation seeks to “address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.”
“It’s a commission to study the issue of what was the economic impact of the work of slaves and how does it translate in the 21st century. And what we want to do is to build a narrative, a story of the facts and out of that be able to access how we repair some of the damage,” Jackson Lee said during a recent interview after her speech at the annual Legislative and Policy Conference organized by Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
Jackson Lee called the reparations legislation “a beginning process and an educational process for the nation in a non-controversial manner, and not in a manner of pitting one group of people against another.”
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