Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said during a CNN town hall Monday night that Congress should back a study on reparations for African Americans, but did not say if she supports financial payouts.
Harris supports that Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, a bill introduced this year by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who took over from former Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., who had introduced the bill every year since 1989. It calls for comprehensive federal research into the nature of the enslavement of Africans and the financial impact, as well as the effect of the Jim Crow era and institutionalized racism on African Americans.
“We had centuries of slavery in this country. We had decades of Jim Crow. We had legalized discrimination and segregation. And then we had de facto discrimination and segregation,” Harris said, according to HuffPost. “And to believe or suggest that those years of … abuse and violence and crime did not have an impact is to overlook the facts of history.”
When CNN’s Don Lemon, the host, asked Harris if she supports financial payouts, she said she supports “that we study them,” and said that she’s studied how racial trauma can have a physical effect.
“When you are talking about the years and years and years of trauma that were experienced because of slavery, because of Jim Crow and because of all that we have seen in terms of institutional and legal discrimination and racism, this is very real and it needs to be studied,” she said. “And we need to look at exactly how the response should be played out.”
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