Reparations for African Americans March and Rally in Newark (263185)
Credit: Facebook

I find it very disingenuous that in 2008, when the Democrats had control of Congress (both the House and the Senate) and the executive branch (president), with a Black president, Barack Obama, reparations never came up for a vote or a hearing.

Having control of The House in 2008, the Democrats appointed Rep. John Conyers of Detroit to head up the powerful Judiciary Committee, where his Reparations Bill H.R.40 sat for 11 years without coming up for a vote. One would have thought that being head of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Conyers could have brought his Reparations Bill up for a vote! That never happened!

Now, let’s fast forward to 2019! The Democrats hold a hearing on Reparations Bill H.R.40 at a time when the Republicans control the Senate and there is a racist lying xenophobic mad man occupying the White House! Really?

Now that the Democratic Party doesn’t have Barack Obama to get out the Black vote, they are using reparations to seduce Black voters into supporting them. We must not let them use reparations like some political football to be kicked around!

No matter how eloquently and powerfully Ta-Nehisi Coates waxed at the Democratic Party’s reparations hearing, we must remain vigilant and intelligent and not allow the Democratic Party to manipulate and take the Black vote for granted. It’s time to build an independent Black radical political movement!

Reparations is a life and death movement for restorative justice. We must honor and pay homage to those who kept the reparations movement alive over the decades and centuries, i.e., Cally House, “Queen Mother” Audley Moore, The Back Panther Party, The Republic Of New Africa, The Nation of Islam, The African Peoples Socialist Party, The National Coalition Of Blacks For Reparations In America, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Randall Robinson (and his book, “The Debt”), The Institute of the Black World and The December 12th Movement (partial listing). These individuals and organizations are responsible for the reparations movement being alive today!

While I’m glad it’s being discussed, let’s maintain the integrity of the reparations movement and mobilize and organize to make reparations a reality in our lifetime!

I’m strongly pushing my reparations bill, A3080A, which I introduced in the New York State Assembly, which calls for a New York State Community Commission focusing on economic remedies and other forms of repair for the enslavement of African people in New York State. This bill is not seeking an apology; this bill’s sole purpose is to create a commission that will provide tangible remedies for the years of free labor that helped build the economic wealth of New York State.

They stole us! They sold us! They owe us! REPARATIONS NOW!

Assemblymember Charles Barron represents New York State Assembly District 60.