Sen. Cory Booker said in a panel that the US needs to address "continuing inequalities" of African Americans by discussing reparations, and the idea that the offspring of slaves should be compensated for the injustices and atrocities of their ancestors.
The nation "has yet to truly recognize and address the racism and supremacy of the whites who have stained the country's founding, and continue to cause persistent and profound racial disparities and inequalities." These disparities are not just harming black communities, but all communities. "  A Subcommittee on House Justice debated HR 40, a bill designed to investigate how the US would effect reparations for black Americans in the midst of a national conversation about what the federal government owes descendants of slaves. Booker, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and actor Danny Glover were among the witnesses testifying before the panel.
The panel took place on Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the liberation of slaves in Texas on June 1
The panel was held the day after the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said that he believed that the rights of Black Americans were so advanced that reparations became superfluous.
I do not think reparing for something that happened 150 years ago and for which none of us is responsible is a good idea. We have tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by waging a civil war by crossing landmarks We have elected an African-American president, "McConnell said, and McConnell once made it his mission to make President Obama a president to serve a term of office, and worked to block legislation supported by Obama during his term.
As a witness in the first panel, Booker highlighted the importance of HR 40.
"This is a very important hearing. It is historical. It is urgent, "said Booker, who introduced the Senate version of the law, arguing that black Americans deserve not only compensation for slavery, but also for the heritage of domestic terrorism against blacks after the Civil War, for segregation, and for Redlining, a practice used by mortgage lenders who kept blacks from receiving mortgages 19659003] "As a nation, we need to address these continuing inequalities," said Booker. "It's time to build a common ground and common ground Purpose to cope with this ugly story. "
Booker's proposed American Opportunity Accounts Act, commonly known as" Baby Bonds, "would bring a savings of $ 1,000 for every US born child The child would receive an additional bail from the government each year while those in the poorest families receive up to $ 2,000. The child can access the account at the age of 18 and only for legitimate purposes such as education and homeownership. The proposal aims to help reduce inequality in race income.
The second panel included several experts for reparations to witness. Coates wrote the groundbreaking 2014 essay in The Atlantic, "The Case for Reparations," which aroused the interest of reporters and politicians in reparations.
"It is impossible to imagine America without the legacy of slavery," Coates said, noting that the economy of the early United States depended on slavery, which required "torture, rape, and child trafficking."
"One century after the Civil War, blacks were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror," Coates continued. While "it is tempting to divorce this modern campaign of terror, looting, and slavery," it said that the legacy of slavery and discrimination was linked and the reward justified. He also argued that the "federal government was deeply complicit not only in slavery but also in the implementation of measures such as redlining and segregation.
Coates specifically condemned McConnell and found that the Senate Majority Leader was responsible for much of the violence The Civil Rights Movement could not regard discrimination as a problem of the past
"Majority Leader McConnell also cited civil rights laws yesterday because he was alive to witness the harassment, imprisonment and betrayal of Those responsible for this legislation have been required by a government to protect. He was alive for the redlining of Chicago and the plunder of black homeowners at around $ 4 billion, "Coates said," victims of this plunder are very much alive today. I am sure that they would love a word with the Majority Leader. "
Glover also stated that he was the great-grandson of a woman who was enslaved and freed from the emancipation statement he met as a child." This hearing is another important step in the long and heroic struggle of African Americans, "Glover said.
" White America must acknowledge that justice for the black can not be achieved without radically changing the structure of our country society, "Glover continued
Other witnesses included Katrina Browne, a white woman from the largest US slave family. Browne said most white Americans do not know how much the North and the Midwest are involved in slavery, and instinctively wanted to avoid any sense of shame associated with their ancestors and their lands.
Another witness, the freelance black writer Coleman Hughes, said he was against indemnity for all descendants of slaves. He suggested paying reparations to those who lived under Jim Crow.
"The people guilty of slavery are no longer here," said Hughes. His testimony was acclaimed by the predominantly black crowd. According to his testimony, a man stood up in the audience and vociferously expressed his rejection as he left.
"It's time to leave, I can not hear that, it's garbage," said the man.
Another black opponent of reparation, former NFL player Burgess Owens, claimed it was possible to realize the American dream of hard work. He also briefly referred to the influx of illegal immigrants across the border and said that illegal immigration "hurt our race".
The right-wing Reverend Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, said, however, that this was important in the debate between contradictory opinions. He noted that his mostly white diocese had begun to discuss reparations for the role of the Episcopal Church in the region in favor of slavery. If his church could lead that debate, it could also be the nation It's not just financial compensation, "Sutton said, and Coates later disagreed saying that" issuing a check "should be part of the conversation.
Sutton also urged Owens' opinion that black Americans must have control of their own future by saying the idea that one only has to pull themselves up on the boots "is a lie."
Julianne Malveaux, Economist and twin sister of Rep. Karen Bass, argued that all whites benefited from the fruits of slavery, even though they or their ancestors did not participate.
"It is more than time for us to deal with the injustices that are Malveaux said, "Enslavement is the foundation upon which this land was built." Malveaux also argued that It was not enough to compensate only low-income Americans of all races, but to focus specifically on the economic inequality of the races.
"Racism and slavery were our original sins, and we need to. Reverse with reparations by dealing with it," Malveaux said, arguing that reparations would have to be a different problem than helping all low-income Americans. "Let's not forget that race is central to everything we do about economic inequality."
Malveaux later complained that experts like her, an economist with solid knowledge in the field, did not receive enough questions about racial inequality. She also said that the tone of the hearing was "kumbaya".
"I want all congressmen to deal with the economic structure," Malveaux said. "I am frustrated with the tone this has partially accepted."
Marveaux told CBS News following the hearing that this was a "step forward" and hoped that the discussion on Wednesday would eventually lead to legislation to close the wealth gap.
"I was frustrated with some Republican witnesses who obviously wanted to do the soft-shoe that shuffled around: & # 39; We got up & # 39; – everyone got up, that's not it's about it's about questions the economic structure, "she said.
HR 40, named after the Civil War as compensation to former slaves for the promise of "40 acres and a mule", has weakened in the House of Representatives since former MP John Conyers first introduced it in 1989. But Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee restored the bill in January. Reparations were once a marginal idea – at least among white politicians – but they received more attention from the mainstream Democrats in the presidential campaign 2020 . Many of the declared Democratic presidential candidates have taken a position on reparations or at least support a national discussion about the problem.
Jackson Lee said in her introductory remarks that HR 40 would be a "long overdue" response to slavery.
"Slavery is the original sin, slavery has never received an apology," said Jackson Lee. how was segregation. Jackson Lee said it was up to the federal government to make amends.
When Jackson Lee opened her survey series at the end of the panel, she received applause and applause from the audience.
"Let this day, June 19, 2019, set the standard for the commitment of every one of you who came to support (the bill)," said Jackson Lee. She told Hughes and Owens to "read the bill."
In her survey, MEP Karen Bass said that refusing to discriminate against black Americans is harmful, arguing that reparations would be "trivialized" as black people who wanted money.
"Everyone understands the pain caused by denying the Holocaust, causing deep pain," said Bass.
Few Republican members of the Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties participated in the hearing. The senior member of the subcommittee, GOP MP Mike Johnson, said in his opening remarks that it was difficult to give Black Americans financial compensation for actions taken by a "small" group of slaves. A few spectators mocked and asked, "Small?" Johnson also said that reparations would be "unconstitutional" and cause a stir among the public.
GOP MP Louie Gohmert spent most of his interrogation to determine that historically members of the Democratic Party had supported slavery and had implemented much of the guidelines under Jim Crow. The audience interrupted Gohmert repeatedly, once with a man who shouted, "They are lying!"
Senator Lindsey Graham said Wednesday he did not know "where it ends" when making reparations.
I just think, we are so far from the event, it was the original sin of the country. I think we want to make it a more perfect union, instead of looking back, because I do not know where it ends when you do that. "Graham said," We are not a perfect country, but we are trying to form a more perfect union and I think that will not help. "