February 19, 2024

During Black History Month, Reps. Lee, Jackson Lee, Bush, Bowman Call on President Biden to Act on Racial Equity & Reparative Justice Legislation

Washington, DC – Today, Representative Barbara Lee (CA-12) led a letter with Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Cori Bush (MO-1), and Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) calling on the Biden Administration to help advance critical racial equity and reparative justice legislation introduced in the 118th Congress through executive actions that would ensure these bills receive the attention needed to pass swiftly.

With more than 150 organizations and individuals signed-on to the corresponding organizational letter, the members invite President Biden to join a scheduled meeting with congressional sponsors and advocates to discuss strategic pathways for moving this vital agenda forward prior to the 2024 federal election.

“As a diverse coalition of congressional leaders, we write this letter with a sense of urgency and a call for action echoing the sentiments of our constituents and millions of others nationwide,” the lawmakers wrote. “We express our gratitude for your continued leadership on racial equity and reparative justice. While we appreciate your administration's commitment to placing racial equity at the center of your agenda, there is still much work to be done. As members of Congress representing a broad spectrum of American society, we are united by the common goal of achieving racial equity and reparative justice, thereby enhancing our nation's ability to celebrate our shared humanity.

In their call to President Biden, the letters illustrate the current and persistent challenges of racial equity, which include, but are not limited to, institutional racism, unequal access to education and job opportunities, discriminatory policing, and disparities in healthcare. They put forward the following legislation, introduced in the 118th Congress, seeking to address racial inequality as a bipartisan effort by addressing and remedying historical and systemic inequities:

  • H.R. 14: John. R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2023 to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965, including requiring Federal approval before certain jurisdictions enact changes to voting laws
  • H.R. 1255 / S. 3257: Sgt. Isaac Woodard, Jr. and Sgt. Joseph H. Maddox GI Bill Restoration Act of 2023 to extend to Black veterans of World War II, surviving spouses, and certain direct descendants eligibility for certain housing loans and educational assistance
  • H.R. 40 / S. 40: The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals and Recommendations for African Americans Act 
  • H.Con.Res. 44 / S.Con.Res 19: Urging the establishment of a U.S. Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation
  • H.Res.532:  Third Reconstruction: Fully addressing poverty and low wages from the bottom up 
  • H.Res.414: Recognizing that the United States has a moral and legal obligation to provide reparations for the enslavement of Africans and its lasting harm on the lives of millions of Black people in the US
  • H.R. 2952: The Restoring Artistic Protection Act of 2023 amends the Federal Rules of Evidence to limit the admissibility of evidence of a defendant’s creative or artistic expression against such defendant and for other purposes.
  • H.Res.1392: Recognizing "Banned Books Week" 
  • H.R. 4699: The People's Response Act to establish within the Department of Health and Human Services a Division on Community Safety
  • H.Res.988: Equity for All Resolution to adopt a “zero tolerance” approach to racial inequity, expressed through policy and practice through utilization of the Equity or Else Platform

To read the full letter, click here.