Washington, D.C. — Today, on Juneteenth, the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will hold the first congressional hearing on reparations in more than a decade. The hearing will focus on H.R. 40, which would create a commission to study the effects of slavery in the United States and create proposals for reparations. In response, Danyelle Solomon, vice president of Race and Ethnicity Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
“For far too long, our nation has refused to engage in an open and honest conversation about the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and ongoing structural racism embedded in almost every aspect of American society. Today, African-Americans hold less than one-tenth of the wealth of their white counterparts, endure three to four times the risk of maternal and infant mortality , and face stark disparities at every stage of the criminal justice system. These and other inequities have deep, historical roots, cultivated by intentional government policies and allowed to spread over centuries of indifference.
“By holding a hearing on H.R. 40, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and the entire House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is elevating an important issue to the national stage. We are encouraged by the number of thought leaders from around the country reflecting on the lingering effects of systematic inequality, and we look forward to hearing their ideas for targeted intervention. Today marks a critical step toward truth, reconciliation, and atonement for past and present harms inflicted on African-Americans.”