Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the presumed front-runner to succeed Nancy Pelosi as leader of the House Democrats, supports legislation to create a commission to study reparations for descendants of enslaved people, reports Fox News.
H.R. 40, authored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, calls for the creation of an expert panel to study the legacy of slavery and consider reparations for the descendants. The legislation has passed the Judiciary Committee, but Pelosi never brought it to the floor for a vote.
“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,” said Jackson.
Jeffries, if elected, would be the first Black man to lead a major party in Congress. He was one of the bill’s earliest supporters when it was first introduced in 2019.
Jeffries, during a hearing on the bill in the House Judiciary Committee last year, said a study was the least Congress could do for the descendants of enslaved people after generations of injustice.
“We’re not going to move on because after slavery, [there was] Jim Crow and the rise of the KKK,” Jeffries said at the time. “And the lynching epidemic. And Plessy v. Ferguson. And Black Wall Street in 1921 destroyed.”
“This is a great country, we’ve come a long way, we still have a long way to go, we’re not perfect, but we’re marching to a more perfect union,” said Jeffries. “The least we can do is study these historic wrongs. That’s the least that this Congress can do.”
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