In an article published on Sunday, May 1, the LA Times wrote, “Voters are fortunate to have an extraordinarily qualified, battle-tested, mission-driven leader on the ballot.”
Bass has represented California’s 37th congressional district since 2011, covering several areas south and west of downtown Los Angeles.
Among the reasons the LA Times chose to support Rep. Bass over other candidates are her 20+ years of experience, her brand of “community-informed activism,” her work to support foster youth and combat homelessness, her role in helping California avoid a financial meltdown during the 2008 recession, and her ability to work across the aisle “as a thoughtful, pragmatic, collaborative leader.”
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“For this race and this moment, no other candidate can match Bass’ experience, track record, sophisticated grasp of the problems plaguing Los Angeles and her vision of how to move forward,” the Times said.
Though Bass has gotten glowing reviews for her public service, reparatory justice advocates have another question: Where does she stand on reparations?
During a hearing on House bill H.R. 40 in 2020, Bass made it clear she is in favor of passing the bill to create a commission to study reparations.
“This is just such an important moment in our history,” Bass said during the hearing. “It’s so important because I believe that in this country, we have never been able to come to grips with our history. We either don’t know our history or we deny it.”
Bass was elected chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, serving for all of 2019 and 2020.
She gave a summary of why she and the Congressional Black Caucus supported the reparations the bill.
“Slavery might’ve ended in the mid-1800s, but apartheid and terrorism lasted for 100 years after that,” Bass continued. “In our country, we pride ourselves on our development but we refuse to acknowledge that the reason why we have the development that we do is because the first 200 years of our history was done with free labor.
“I want to say that it should be obvious but the entire Congressional Black Caucus supports this legislation,” Bass added, noting the bill called for a study of reparations, not just a check.
Though Bass didn’t publicly state whether she supported cash reparations, she did challenge the audacity of Republicans to scoff at Black Americans seeking reparations as desiring a handout.
“We trivialize reparations by saying that these are just African Americans that want to be paid. Mr. [Ta-Nehisi] Coates goes into details about reparations meaning much more than that,” Bass said.
Bass called out “colleagues on the other side of the aisle (who) say that we need to be encouraged to work harder, to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, that we can actually achieve, that that’s the only thing that’s the problem.
“And then to talk about the Democratic Party, I think maybe people don’t remember who Fannie Lou Hamer was,” Bass continued. “Black folks fought the Democratic Party. Nobody acts as though the Democratic Party was not a racist party until there was a movement that fought for justice.”
PHOTO: Karen Bass arrives at the premiere of “They Call Me Magic” on April 14, 2022, at The Village Regency Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)