Democrats Push Forward Bill on Restorative Justice

H.R. 40 would consider reparations for slavery and a national apology for centuries of systemic racism

AUSTIN, Texas — As President Biden positions racial equality at the center of his agenda, Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee last week voted to recommend H.R. 40, which would create a commission to consider reparations for slavery as well as a national apology for centuries of injustice. The bill is also intended to come up with a framework to begin a national dialogue on the effects of slavery and its shameful legacy that continues to pervade every aspect of American society.

2019 marked 400 years since the forced arrival of the first enslaved people in what would later become the United States. Throughout history, Black Americans have been consistently cut out from the benefits of the country for which many of their ancestors literally laid the foundation.

Even after an official end to slavery in the United States, laws across the country legally segregated and oppressed Black Americans until Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. However, today, the vestiges of the institution of race-based slavery continue to plague our country through systemic racism.

H.R. 40 is the culmination of decades of work by leaders and advocates to begin repairing the immense intergenerational harm still borne by Black Americans whose ancestors were enslaved.

Texas Democratic Party Gilberto Hinojosa issued a statement:

“President Biden and the Democratic Party understand that the United States’ history of slavery lingers in all sectors of our society where Black Americans are still being held back, imprisoned, and killed simply due to the color of their skin. This will not stop until we fully address racial inequality in America — including owning up to the debt we owe Black Americans.

“I thank Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX-18) for her tremendous work on this bill as well as Rep. Al Green (D-TX-09) for pushing forward this incredibly important issue for decades.”