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Murray cosponsored Senator Booker’s legislation to form a commission to study reparations for African-American descendants of slavery

The Commission will aim to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans

The Commission formed by this legislation would be the first time the United States meaningfully addressed reconciliation for slavery

Murray: “I believe that as a country, a critical part of upholding our values of equality, justice, and freedom is recognizing the full scope of our nation’s history and its consequences in the present—that means confronting the stark reality that many of our core policies and institutions perpetuate the bigotry and injustice toward African-Americans that began with slavery”

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced her support for legislation introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) to form a commission for the study of reparation proposals for African-American descendants of slavery. The Commission will aim to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans, and will make recommendations on reparations proposals for the descendants of slaves.

“Our nation’s shameful history of racism and oppression of African-Americans did not end with signing of the Emancipation Proclamation—from the systematic terrorism waged against African-Americans in the Jim Crow south, to the discrimination and injustices people face today in education, housing, employment, and more—the scars of one of our nation’s original sins can still be seen today. I believe that as a country, a critical part of upholding our values of equality, justice, and freedom is recognizing the full scope of our nation’s history and its consequences in the present—that means confronting the stark reality that many of our core policies and institutions perpetuate the bigotry and injustice toward African-Americans that began with slavery.

“I want to thank Senator Booker and Congresswoman Jackson Lee for their leadership, as well as the generations of activists who have worked to bring this long-standing issue to the forefront. This legislation is an important first step toward correcting some of the enduring economic and social injustices so many people in our country face, and I’m committed to keeping up the fight to ensure African-Americans, and other communities who have faced disadvantages and discrimination, have equal access to economic opportunity. We aspire to be a nation in which every person is able to pursue their dreams with equal opportunity to achieve them, and I am confident this legislation will take us closer to this essential goal.”

The Commission created by this legislation would be the first time the United States pursued a comprehensive and meaningful form of reconciliation. In 1865, Congress established the Freedmen’s Bureau to assist recently freed slaves and poor whites in land acquisition, legal assistance, education, and resettlement, but persistent opposition from President Andrew Johnson significantly weakened the institution.

The bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives every Congress for the last 30 years, and Senator Booker introduced the bill for the first time in the Senate this Congress. The bill has 64 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 13 cosponsors in the Senate, in addition to Senator Murray.

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