The issue of reparations continues to dominate discussion during the 400th anniversary of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the most vicious and evil oppression in American history.
After America promised — and never delivered — 40 acres and a mule as reparations, the country instead turned to oppressive and dehumanizing laws such as Jim Crow and leaders introduced tactics such as lynching, denying voting rights and dastardly usurping any civil rights owed African Americans.
With the 2020 election campaign in full swing, several Democratic candidates have weighed in on the topic of reparations:
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker:
Booker recently introduced a bill called the Commission To Study and Develop Reparation Proposals For African Americans Act.
He has also advocated for baby bonds, which would offer all newborns $1,000, and then add up to $2,000 annually for children in low-income households until they’re 18.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg:
“I haven’t seen a proposal for a cash transfer that people would be able to come together around and view as fair,” Buttigieg said in March, according to NewsOne. “But I absolutely believe that we need to have some kind of accounting for the persistent racial inequities today there by design because of part and present racism.”
The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development is perhaps the most vocal proponent for reparations among all presidential candidates, according to NewsOne.
“I’ve long believed that our country will never truly heal until we address the original sin of slavery,” he told the audience at the National Action Network convention.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:
At the National Action Network Convention, Gillibrand said the reparations conversation is “long overdue,” NBC News reporter Ali Vitali tweeted.
“She adds here that she supports the bill that would establish a commission to study the issue,” Vitali reported.
California Sen. Kamala Harris:
NewsOne reported that Harris “has been somewhat cagey when it comes to reparations, but did say she would sign the bill to explore the topic if she became president.”
Still, there was some uncertainty after she told NPR in March that reparations “means different things to different people.”
NewsOne said the former Texas congressman recently reversed his position on reparations, telling the crowd at the National Action Network Convention that he would support Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s proposed H.R. 40 bill to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans.
Just weeks earlier, O’Rourke said he wasn’t in favor of “traditional reparations for African-Americans for the legacy of slavery,” according to The Associated Press.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders:
Sanders used the National Action Network Convention to offer his support for H.R. 40 legislation for reparations, as well.
His stance was a departure from previous speeches that caused confusion about where he stood on the issue, NewsOne reported.
When asked about reparations during a town hall event on CNN in late February, Sanders said, “It depends on what the word means.”
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren:
Warren has emerged from her own race-based scrutiny to become one of the most vocal champions of reparations for American descendants of slavery, according to NewsOne.
While Warren hasn’t called for direct monetary payments, she did say that “it’s time to start the national, full-blown conversation about reparations in this country.”
The former vice president’s current stance on reparations as it relates to next year’s election was unclear. However, he said in 1975 in no uncertain terms that he was totally against the idea.
“I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather,” Biden said at the time. “I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation. And I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.”