Congresswoman Barbara Lee Introduces Legislation to Establish a Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12) announced the reintroduction of her legislation calling for the establishment of the first United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT). The Commission will examine the effects of slavery, institutional racism, and discrimination against people of color, and how our history impacts laws and policies today.
“Every challenge we face today—from health disparities laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic, to economic inequality and poverty, to environmental racism—can be traced back to 400 years of systemic, government sanctioned racism. This history shows us that a truth commission is a moral imperative,” said Congresswoman Lee. “On the heels of the progress made by the California Reparations Task Force, we introduce this legislation to examine the effects of slavery, institutional racism, and discrimination against people of color, and how our history impacts laws and policies today.”
“As truth commissions continue to be established in cities across the country and countries around the world, the need for our own here in the United States grows more and more apparent. We know that more work must be done to achieve true racial equity for our communities,” Congresswoman Lee continued. “These legislative efforts will educate and inform the public about the historical context for the current racial inequalities we witness each day, usher in a moment of truth, and take necessary steps toward rooting out systemic racism in our institutions. Only then will we repair past harm and build a more just nation for every individual.”
This legislation is supported by a broad coalition of members of Congress and community partners, and works in conjunction with H.R. 40, legislation introduced by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) — a cosponsor of Congresswoman Lee’s Truth legislation — to form a commission to study and develop reparations, as well as Congresswoman Cori Bush, who introduced the Reparations Now Resolution to call for reparations and support a truth commission.
This resolution has been endorsed by over 240 organizations and individuals, including Breathe with Me Revolution, Leadership Conferences on Civil Rights and Human Rights, and the NAACP.
The full text of the resolution can be found here.
Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, she is the highest ranking Black woman appointed to House Leadership.