Congresswoman Bush Introduces Legislation Urging Federal Reparations
WATCH: Yesterday Bush hosted historic press conference with leaders in reparations movement
Washington D.C. (May 18, 2023) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) introduced a resolution that forcefully argues why the federal government must provide reparations to descendants of enslaved Black people and people of African descent. The resolution outlines the various forms those reparations should take. The Reparations Now Resolution seeks to advance federal reparations, support existing reparatory justice efforts such as H.R. 40 and H. Con. Res. 44, and provide further momentum to reparations efforts at the state and local levels.
“I am one of the 40 million people in this country descended from enslaved Africans. Our ancestors were torn away from their homes and families, enslaved, and forced to fuel this country’s economy since the day it was founded. And then they were left landless, impoverished, and disenfranchised," said Congresswoman Bush. “Black people continue to bear the harms of slavery and its vestiges, through the Black-white wealth gap, segregation and redlining, disparities in health outcomes, a racist and destructive criminal legal system, and countless other ways. Yet our federal government refuses to acknowledge the lasting harms of slavery and the unjust world it created for Black people. We know this injustice because we experience it every day. This resolution will move us closer to a federal government that acknowledges its responsibility for this injustice and enacts a holistic and comprehensive reparations package that begins to address the harm it has caused, the wealth it has extracted, and the lives it has stolen.”
A copy of this resolution can be found HERE. A copy of the one-pager can be found HERE. A copy of her remarks, as prepared for delivery, from yesterday’s press conference announcing this resolution can be found HERE.
This resolution is co-sponsored by Representatives Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Al Green (TX-09), Jonathan Jackson (IL-01), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Summer Lee (PA-12), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Delia Ramirez (IL-04) and Rashida Tlaib (MI-12).
The Reparations Now Resolution has been endorsed by nearly 300 organizations, including National Coalition Of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA), Color of Change, Action St. Louis, Arch City Defenders, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, National Black Justice Coalition, African American Redress Network, New Brunswick Area NAACP, Japanese American Citizens League, Black Music Action Coalition, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc., Reparation Education Project, US Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Movement, Universal Human Rights Initiative, National Council of Churches, Drug Policy Alliance, National Education Association, Decolonizing Wealth Project, National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL), Terence Crutcher Foundation, National Consumers League, Reparations Finance Lab, National Council of Jewish Women, and National Nikkei Reparations Coalition (NNRC). A full list of all endorsing organizations and their quotes can be found HERE.
“N’COBRA is honored to support Congresswoman Bush in her legislative efforts towards further amplifying the call for reparations for People of African Descent. Reparations are long overdue and the harms associated must be redressed immediately. We are proud to stand with the Congresswoman as she advances the vision of so many ancestors. We stand ready to provide whatever support she deems necessary,” said Kenniss Henry, National Co-Chair, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA).
“America has unfinished business, and this legislation will help to address it,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson, President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
“Congresswoman Cori Bush’s resolution on reparations for Black people in the US reflects the urgent need to show up for a constituency that has for too long weathered discrimination, abuse, and neglect. The legislation is in line with the growing national recognition that reparations are essential to consider for rectifying the alarming racial wealth gap and ending the disparities in access to health care, housing, and even clean water that are legacies of slavery. It is past time for President Biden to use his executive authority to set up a federal commission to study reparations proposals as laid out in HR 40, which has been supported by hundreds of organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Reparations measures should not be conflated with President Biden’s equity policies, and the US government should not continue failing to meet its human rights obligations to the people who’ve helped to build this country,” said Tanya Greene, Director, US Program, Human Rights Watch.
“Just as Japanese Americans were granted redress and formal apology from our government 35 years ago for the unjust incarceration during WWII, we are past due to make reparations for the wrongs inflicted by our government upon Black Americans throughout our nation's history. This resolution helps to reinforce the need to make amends and supports the need to create a commission to study how we might provide reparations to Black Americans,” said David Inoue, Executive Director, Japanese American Citizens League.
“As a founder of legacy reparations organizations who proudly worked very closely with Rep. John Conyers in promoting the 1987-introduced H.R.40 reparations study commission bill as well as with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee as she took its 2016 updated version to include the development of proposals by the proposed H.R.40 commission and electrified its momentum, I am likewise honored and enthused to vigorously support Rep. Cori Bush’s comprehensive and holistic resolution, which is one more example of today’s 'history-in-the-making' that brings additional value to H.R.40 and the movement for reparatory justice in the U.S.,” said Nkechi Taifa, Executive Director, Reparation Education Project.
“For more than 83 million minutes, the United States of America has lived with the sin of slavery. Now is the time for radical reparations and radical truth-telling. We heal what has been broken and violated in order to achieve the more perfect nation we seek and deserve,” said Dr. Marcus Anthony Hunter, Co-Chair, US Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Movement.
“Decolonizing Wealth Project resoundingly supports Rep. Bush's #ReparationsNow Resolution addressing reparations for Black Americans. This landmark proposal marks a significant stride towards fostering the crucial racial reconciliation and healing that our nation rightly deserves. By embracing this resolution, we underscore our commitment to working alongside forward-thinking leaders to advance equity, justice, and healing within our society. Together, we can forge a path towards a more inclusive and harmonious future for all Americans,” said Kwesi Chappin, Reparations Program Director, Decolonizing Wealth Project.
“Justice demands reparations that address directly the injuries suffered and continue to be suffered by African Americans in the United States from the enslavement of Africans, the abuse to so-called "free Africans" during the period of enslavement, and the United States' role in creating and maintaining laws and actions that subordinated African Americans to whites and its allowance of discrimination against African Americans in all areas of life including criminal punishment, education, employment and housing,” said Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, Co-Facilitator, National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL).
“The Terence Crutcher Foundation is inspired by Congresswoman Cori Bush’s leadership and the call to action laid out in her #ReparationsNow resolution, building off of the work of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Hank Johnson and others. Our recent ancestors, including the last known living survivors of the Tulsa race massacre, all over 100-years old, confronted anti-Black racism in the United States in its most overt forms. As we await an important court decision that could decide whether the survivors get the reparations they deserve, this resolution underscores the urgency of this moment. Reparations are a real plan for justice, and we cannot wait any longer,” said Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, Executive Director, Terence Crutcher Foundation.