It may not be a national holiday, but Juneteeth marks a major milestone for America USA TODAY
A House subcommittee will hold a hearing to discuss reparations for slavery on Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated on June 19 that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties is set to discuss legislation that would create a commission to study the history of slavery and its lasting effects of African Americans. Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “The Case for Reparations,” and actor Danny Glover are set to testify before the panel alongside legal and economic experts.
“The purpose of the hearing is to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice,” according to a press release.
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The bill, House Resolution 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, was first sponsored by former Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan in 1989. Conyers reintroduced the bill every session until he retired in 2017.
Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the resolution’s new sponsor, introduced it earlier this year and pushed for next week’s hearing.
“The impact of slavery and its vestiges continues to effect African Americans and indeed all Americans in communities throughout our nation,” Jackson Lee said in a statement in January. “The call for reparations represents a commitment to entering a constructive dialogue on the role of slavery and racism in shaping present-day conditions in our community and American society.”
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., filed a companion version of the bill in April.
“Since slavery in this country, we have had overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations,” Booker said in a statement. “Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded blacks through practices like GI Bill discrimination and redlining.”
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Presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Julián Castro have voiced their support for reparations but offered few other details.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday rejected reparations for slavery in part because it would be hard to know whom to pay.
Asked about reparations, McConnell said: “I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea.”
Contributing: Rodrigo Torrejon, North Jersey Record; The Associated Press
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