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Kaine & Booker Introduce Legislation to Form Commission for Study of Reparation Proposals for African Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and other colleagues in introducing the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, legislation to establish a commission to consider proposals for reparations for African American descendants of slavery. The Commission would study the impacts of slavery and continued discrimination against African Americans, and it would make recommendations on reparation proposals for the descendants of slaves.

“African American communities in Virginia and across the country continue to face the deep and lasting effects of centuries of slavery,” said Kaine. “This bill is critical as we look for ways to dismantle the systemic racism that is the tragic legacy of slavery. Understanding and seriously considering proposals for reparations will move us closer to our North Star of equality.”

Specifically, the bill would examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. Among other requirements, the Commission would examine:

  • The role of federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery,
  • Forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and
  • Lingering negative effects of slavery on living African Americans and society.

The Commission will recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the findings and submit a written report to Congress no later than one year after the first meeting of the Commission.

Kaine, a former civil rights lawyer, has cosponsored a number of reforms over the years to address racial inequality and injustice. Kaine successfully passed his bipartisan bill to establish a National Park Service commission to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans into English Colonial America.

In addition to Kaine and Booker, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Patty Murray (D-WA). Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18).

The bill is endorsed by over 190 organizations. Full text of the legislation is available here.