April 15, 2024

Rep. Jamaal Bowman Co-Sponsors $14T Reparations Bill For African Americans – BET

January 17, 2024
11:08 AM
Photo By Tom Williams
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, is making his claim to hold the federal government accountable for the legacy of slavery and the ongoing effects of systematic racism with a  $14 trillion reparations bill, The Journal News
HR 414 would offer free college education at the 107 HBCUs throughout the country, underwriting the National Publishers Association and National Association of Black Broadcasters, and the “restoration of voting rights for persons currently or previously incarcerated.”
“I think people incarcerated should be able to vote,” Bowman, who represents New York City’s northern suburbs, said. “And I definitely think that when they come out, they should automatically be enfranchised.”
According to the 2020 census, there are approximately 42 million African Americans in the United States which makes up 12 percent of the population. When divided evenly, each person could receive $333,000 which could be paid out over decades, Bowman said
“Who says the $14 trillion needs to be paid out in one shot,” said Bowman. “It might be possible for it to be paid out over 5 or 10 or 20 years. You could take that $333,000 and break it up into monthly checks over X amount of time. There are creative ways to do the right thing and do what needs to be done.”
Bowman believes in a broad approach to reparations because of the vast inequities that America was built on including “housing, mass incarceration, higher education, and wealth inequality.”
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“There were 246 years of free labor that produced trillions or hundreds of trillions of dollars for the U.S. economy,” said Bowman. “The economy wouldn’t exist in the way it does today if slavery hadn’t built it.”
First introduced in 2023 and co-sponsored by Bowman, the bill comes 35 years after the federal commission to study reparations was first introduced. That bill remains pending and was reintroduced again this year as well. 
Sponsored by the late Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the commission was established “to acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and1865 and to establish a  commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.”
Across the country, several states, municipalities, and cities are addressing reparations. The city of Evanston, Ill., approved a reparations initiative to provide qualifying residents with $25,000 for homeownership, home improvement, and mortgage assistance. Residents must either have lived in or been a direct descendant of a Black person who lived in Evanston between 1919 to 1969 and suffered discrimination in housing. Evanston passed a fair housing ordinance in 1969.
While the bill faces an insurmountable task to pass in the House or Senate, Rep. Mondaire Jones along with Westchester County Executive George Latimer, who is running against Bowman, also oppose the legislation. 
Latimer and Jones are in favor of House Resolution 40, which calls” for a reparations commission, and an apology from the federal government for 246 years of state-sanctioned chattel slavery.”
“The issue of reparations deserves serious consideration and dialogue, which is why I support HR 40,” Latimer said in a statement. “But HR 414 is a one-house bill with no chance of passage, so it is clearly a political statement more than anything else.”

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