Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) on Wednesday called for the passage of her bill to study slave reparations, arguing that it's "the American government's responsibility to pay her debt," regardless of how many Americans today do not have slaveowners in their family history.
The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, which has 131 Democratic co-sponsors in the House, would establish a committee to "examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies."
Jackson Lee connected her bill to the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 in the custody of Minneapolis police. His death has sparked weeks of nationwide protests calling for an end to police brutality toward Black Americans.
"The American government still owes a debt," Jackson Lee said at a press conference with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus. "The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act is the answer to the original sin. It is, in fact, a restorative and repair approach to the extreme disparities that rendered and exhibited the horrors of the killing and the murder of my former constituent, George Floyd."