Danny Glover to Congress: Reparations Are a ‘Moral, Democratic and Economic Imperative’

WASHINGTON — Actor and political activist Danny Glover told a congressional subcommittee on Wednesday that a “national reparations policy” for descendants of slaves is “a moral, democratic and economic imperative" to address "structural racism" that limits "full democratic participation and material advancement of African Americans."

Glover, the great-grandson of a former slave, was among the witnesses at the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hearing focused on H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.

Glover, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. Decade for People of African Descent, said reparations would “repair the damages of legally and often religiously sanctioned inhumanity of slavery, segregation and current structural racism that limit full democratic participation and material advancement of African Americans and of our country’s progress as a beacon of justice and equality.”

Rep. Shiela Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is the lead sponsor of H.R. 40. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is the lead sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. "The purpose of the hearing is to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice," read a House Judiciary Committee press release.

Glover called the hearing on H.R. 40 an “important step” in the struggle to repair the “damages inflicted by enslavement and post-emancipation and racial exclusionary policies.”

Other witnesses at the hearing included Ta-Nehisi Coates, distinguished writer in residence with the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University, Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton with the Episcopal Bishop of Maryland, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist and political commentator as well as Professor Eric J. Miller of Loyola Marymount University.

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