Rep. Jamaal Bowman, (D-NY) along with a handful of his democratic colleagues, have offered a $14 trillion pathway to finally reach a deal on the long standing issue of reparations.
The measure is calling on the federal government to be held accountable for slavery and the aftermath of it. The lawmaker cited the federal government’s response to the pandemic and the “space race” as examples that can make H.Res. 414 feasible. “When COVID was destroying us, we invested in the American people in a way that kept the economy afloat,” said Bowman. “The government can invest the same way in reparations without raising taxes on anyone.” “…Where did the money come from?” Bowman said. “We spent it into existence.”
Bowman is among nine sponsors of H.Res. 414, which seeks to establish that the US 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 United States.”
The measure would prompt the federal government to spend $14 trillion on a reparations program that would support descendants of enslaved Black people and people of African descent. Another measure to establish a federal commission on the impact of reparations was reintroduced this year and Bowman is a sponsor of it. The lawmakers say the bill must also address racial disparities in housing, mass incarceration, and education outcomes and “eliminate the racial wealth gap that currently exists between Black and White Americans.”
A recent report by David McKay Wilson in the Journal News provides this whitewashed summary on America’s long history with slavery:
“State-sanctioned slavery existed in what became the United States for 246 years. Ten of the nation’s first 12 presidents enslaved Black people, including one who engaged in slave trading from the Oval Office. Enslaved people — both in the North and the South — helped build our nation and were a foundation of the 18th and 19th century economies. The Hudson Valley’s Philipse family, with a mansion in Yonkers and a mill up the river at Philipsburg Manor, made a portion of their fortune through the slave trade.
New York’s gradual emancipation in 1799 subjected current slaves to lifelong bondage but granted freedom to those born after 1799 by 1827. National emancipation came in 1865, but freedom for the former slaves did not bring prosperity or the rights enjoyed by other Americans.”
Another important historical fact shared on X by Equal Justice Initiative states that on January 18, 1771, North Carolina approved payments of nearly 1,000 pounds, or the equivalent of $230,000 today, to “reimburse” white “owners” for enslaved Black people executed by the state. Dr. Kind said “the time is always right to do the right thing,” especially when it comes to this long and arduous battle to bring about economic justice for Black people who built America under the brutality of slave labor, and creating the richest nation the world has ever known. In his famous I Have A Dream speech, he said, “We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now.” America must now go beyond honoring Dr. King’s legacy and deliver this check to repair what remains broken.