Legislation supporting reparations for Black DC residents introduced

There’s a new effort to provide reparations for descendants of slaves in the District and address what D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie says is a public health crisis.

He introduced two measures Tuesday and said the Reparations Task Force Establishment Act of 2020 would create a nine-member team to study reparations and come up with proposal to provide reparations for Black residents, especially those who are descendants of slaves.

The second measure, the Sense of the Council to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis in the District of Columbia Resolution of 2020, would address disparities in health care, education, housing, criminal justice and other social issues.

“The notion that, with hard work, everyone born in the United States has an equal opportunity to succeed and achieve the American Dream is sadly not the case. We do not live in a post racial society, and racial equality has not been achieved,” McDuffie said in a statement.

He added that racial equity can’t be achieved without addressing the past.

“If ever we are going to achieve racial equity in this country, it will require official recognition of the role of government — sanctioned slavery, segregation and other actions in denying wealth-building opportunities to Black Americans,” he said.

David Bowers, the vice president of Enterprise Community Partners, is among those who support the measures and says his organization will conduct research that will inform and support the task force.

The measures will go before the D.C. Council for consideration.

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