Dr. Sandy Darity And Kirsten Mullen Go Mainstream With Fight To Fix HR 40 Reparations Bill Structure

Dr. Sandy Darity And Kirsten Mullen Go Mainstream With Fight To Fix HR 40 Reparations Bill Structure

Dr. Sandy Darity And Kirsten Mullen Go Mainstream With Fight To Fix HR 40 Reparations Bill Structure Image: Inspection and sale of a negro Digital ID: (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3a17639 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a17639 Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-15392 (b&w film copy neg.) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540

For years, activists Dr. Sandy Darity and Kirsten Mullen fought for the passage of federal reparations to Native Black Americans through grassroots and educational means, but now they’ve taken the fight mainstream.

Darity and Mullen have written an op-ed for The Boston Globe discussing the problems with proposed H.R. 40 reparations bill as it is worded and structured. The bill was first introduced to Congress in 1989 by the late Rep. John Conyers of Michigan. Conyers pushed for its passage until his retirement in 2017. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee re-introduced H.R. 40 in 2019. The U.S. House held the first-ever reparations hearing on Juneteenth 2019 with testimony from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Danny Glover and others.

The bill needs to be re-written, according to Darity and Mullen, a husband-and-wife team of authors and educators who co-wrote the book, “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century.”

Darity is an economist and wealth inequality expert. He is the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University and a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. Mullen is a writer, arts consultant, folklorist and lecturer whose work focuses on race, history, and politics.

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“Unfortunately, the bill, as last revised in 2017, gives the proposed commission complete discretion over the content of the reparations proposal it reports to Congress. This increases the possibility that it will fail to deliver justice,” Darity and Mullen wrote.

In the 30 years-plus since the bill was introduced, “we have learned a great deal about how best to structure a plan for Black reparations,” they added. “If a Congressional commission on reparations is established, it should be directed to produce a plan that meets what we now know are essential requirements.”

Twitter seems to agree with Darity and Mullen. Some users point out edits and requests for changes have been met with resistance.

“Democrats that don’t want to fix HR40 should be compared to the Dem’s that backed the Clinton-Biden crime bill or Iraq War. The DNC machine doesn’t like to listen.Not wanting to discuss & debate structure implies a lack of sincerity, career trafficking, & outright corruption,” The Moguldom Nation founder Jamarlin Martin tweeted.

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.

Darity and Mullen are calling for three components of a Black reparations plan to be included in HR 40. These are: 

  • Eligibility: “Eligible recipients should be Black Americans who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States — descendants of those denied the promised 40 acres. This would encompass 90 percent of the Black population, approximately 40 million people,” Darity and Mullen wrote. Reparations applicants must, they said, establish eligibility by having at least one of their forebears who was enslaved and provide proof that they have self-identified as Black, African American, or Negro on official documents for at least 12 years prior to the enactment of a reparations program.
  • Reducing the wealth disparity: The wealth gap must be addressed. “We have estimated it will require at least $10 trillion to bring the Black share of wealth at least into proportion with the Black share of the U.S. population,” Darity and Mullen wrote.
  • Direct payments: Darity and Mullen are calling for reparations to be made via direct payments — whether via trust accounts, cash transfers, or other types of assets — to eligible recipients. 

Other reparations advocates have called for revisions to be made to the H.R. 40 bill, and have reached out to Jackson Lee to do so.