Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson proposes “Reparations Commission” while Mitch McConnell calls reparations “unworkable.”
Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson rejects Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s claim that reparations are “unworkable.”
June 19th, also known as “Juneteenth,” celebrates the end of slavery. On this day in 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that the Civil War was over.
Today, on the anniversary of “Juneteenth”, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will hold a hearing on H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The purpose of the hearing is to examine the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.
Marianne Williamson believes the time for examination is over. In her landmark book, Healing the Soul of America, which was first published in 1997, she discussed why reparations made economic sense, was an act of healing systemic racism and was a debt owed to the families of former slaves.
Reparations were key to her platform when she announced for the presidency in January 2019 and led the discussion on the idea in the presidential contest.
Mitch McConnell, in an interview yesterday, claimed that doing something for the descendants of slaves brought to America against their will is “unworkable.” Yet, in 1988, President Reagan gave surviving victims of the Japanese internment camps a formal apology and $20,000 through the American Civil Liberties Act.
This morning, Marianne talked with Brad Mielke from ABC’s Start Here news podcast about reparations, McConnell and Juneteenth. Last week, Williamson talked about reparations again on CBS’ The Takeout with Major Garrett saying, “there is an inherent mea culpa, there is an inherent acknowledgment of a wrong that has been done by one people to another and of a debt owed.” Williamson says “Yes, we ended slavery. Yes, we passed Civil Rights legislation – including the Voting Rights Act – in the 1960’s. But no, we have not yet fully done all that it is morally incumbent upon us to do in order to heal this ugly wound. The forty acres and a mule promised to every former slave after the Civil War was not a joke; it was a means by which a formerly enslaved population would have had a chance to integrate economically into life as a freed citizen. While a few were, in fact, given their acreage, the vast majority were not – and most who received them would see the land given back to previous owners over time.”
“In life, there are situations where talk without action not only fails to heal a wound, but exacerbates it. Since World War II, Germany paid $89 billion in reparations to Jewish organizations and America should do the same after centuries of racial oppression, in large part stemming from our history with slavery. While nothing can undo the terror of the Holocaust or the slave trade, reparations can push a new frontier in racial reconciliation in America,” said Williamson.
Williamson has proposed a “Reparations Commission” to guide the way. Black leaders in culture, academia, and politics comprising the commission would disperse $200-500 billion over ten years to promote education, infrastructure, and projects dedicated to black communities.
“When it comes to paying reparations for slavery, on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level, we cannot afford not to,” says Williamson. “Until we do, this cycle of violence that began in the 1600s and continues to this day will continue to haunt our psyche.”