Sheila Jackson Lee Presses Congress To Pass Reparations Bill At D.C. March

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Written by Ann Brown
Jackson Lee
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee pressed Congress to pass a reparations bill during last week’s anniversary march in Washington, D.C. Photo: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, April 2, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A bill for reparations for Native Blacks has been in play for 31 years. It has yet to be passed but Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is telling Congress the time has come to finally pass the bill. 

Jackson Lee re-introduced H.R. 40, also known as the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act,” in January 2019. The bill was first introduced by the late Rep. John Conyers, Jr. in 1989. He continued to push for the bill until he retired in 2017.

During last week’s anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington, D.C., Jackson Lee said, “I understand the words … Dr. Martin Luther King said that the Negro people have been given a bad check — a check which has come to be marked ‘insufficient funds’. Today we stop the insufficient funds, and we put money in the bank, because we’ve got to heal this nation.”

“We will not stop until the nation knows Black Lives Matter, and reparations are passed as the most significant civil rights legislation of the 21st century,” Jackson Lee added.

The 2020 commemorative march marked the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march when he made his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Thousands converged on the National Mall for the Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks, organized by civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network, NBC reported. 

They marched to denounce systemic racism and protest police brutality.

Jackson Lee and others were welcomed to the march including the family of MLK, relatives of Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner. President Donald Trump wasn’t welcomed. Trump’s motorcade got an icy welcome after passing by the attendees at the march. Reporters said he was met with a flurry of middle fingers, Inquisitr reported.

As Trump’s car drove out of the White House on its way to a rally in New Hampshire, he passed by the crowd. MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin tweeted: “Many of the protesters along the avenue greeted the motorcade with raised middle fingers.” 

“There were far too many middle fingers to coun,” Griffin continued. “Several of the people in the crowd opted to raise both of their middle fingers in a double-barreled one-finger salute.”

During her speech at the march, Jackson Lee referenced the police shootings as a reason why “we can’t wait” to pass the reparations bill, The Hill reported.

Besides the reparations bill, Jackson Lee also co-sponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House in June but has since been stalled in the Senate following the introduction of a competing GOP act.

“We can’t wait when those assigned to protect and serve are able to grab the T-shirt of a Black man named Jacob and point a gun in his Black skin and shoot seven times,” she said.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.

Under Jackson Lee’s reparations bill, a committee would be funded to explore whether Black Americans should receive reparations for slavery. While it would not directly introduce payments to those harmed by slavery and systematic racism, the commission would study racial inequities and recommend policy solutions.

Currently, the measure has 147 co-sponsors in the House, all Democrats.