04.15.21

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Applauds Historic Passage of Reparations Legislation out of House Judiciary Committee

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) applauded the historic passage of H.R. 40, The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, out of the House Judiciary Committee:

“Today’s passage of H.R. 40 out of the House Judiciary Committee is historic. Over 30 years after its first introduction in Congress, H.R. 40 is finally making its way to the House floor.

“Against the backdrop of the horrific events that have recently transpired in Minnesota, this development could not be more timely.  The ongoing trial for the murder of Mr. George Floyd and yet another tragic death of an unarmed Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of law enforcement further illustrate that these issues are systemic. We will not address them without bold action to not only repair the damages of systemic racism through reparations, but also by uncovering the truth behind its origins so we can heal. 

“This monumental victory is a testament to the leadership of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee and decades of hard work by activists and a diverse coalition of members of Congress, including the Congressional Black Caucus. H.R. 40 was one of the first bills I cosponsored during my first term in Congress in 1998. Former Congressman John Conyers carried this torch and it is now our responsibility to get it across the finish line.

“I’m hopeful that with this development we can also begin taking steps toward bringing public awareness to the harmful legacy of slavery by passing H.Con.Res 19, my legislation to establish a commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation. This commission will educate and inform the public about the historical context for current racial inequality. From police brutality against the Black community, to xenophobia against the Latino community, to hate crimes against the AAPI community, we witness systemic abuse and white supremacy each and every day. It’s time to usher in a moment of truth. We’ve made substantial progress, but the events of the past week show that systemic racism is still with us every day and the chains of slavery have yet to be broken

“I’m pleased that H.R. 40 is on its way to the floor. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and the Biden-Harris administration to dismantle systemic racism. Restorative justice cannot wait any longer.”