SAN FRANCISCO — Democracy in Color announced the launch of “The White List” today—a list of 75 White congressional Democrats who have failed to support HR 40, the bill establishing a commission to study the effects of slavery and ongoing discrimination on Black Americans, and explore remedies, including possible reparations.
The legislation has been introduced in the House for 41 years, but is gaining traction amidst the current national racial reckoning. H.R. 40 now has more than 135 sponsors.
Of the 95 Democratic House members who have not cosigned H.R. 40 yet, 75 are White, comprising “The White List.” That is, 79 percent of Democratic House members who have not cosigned H.R. 40 yet are White.
While White members of Congress have fallen short, American support has surged with a majority now supporting reparations for Black people, following similar patterns of growing support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. According to a new poll released last week by Democracy in Color and Civiqs, 86% of Democratic voters and 50% of all respondents want Congress to establish a reparations commission to study the legacy of slavery and persistent systemic discrimination against living Black people—a startling increase up from the 31% last year. The poll also found 56% of respondents think the U.S. Congress is “doing too little” to address racial inequality in the United States, including 46% of White respondents.
“Many White Democrats expressed support for Black lives in May and June, but they have been unacceptably silent on addressing and redressing the lasting legacy of slavery and anti-Black racism,” said Steve Phillips, Founder of Democracy in Color. “The politics and polling are clear, and there is no longer any excuse for failing to co-sponsor HR 40 now to begin to address the economic consequences of slavery and racial discrimination.”
Democracy in Color is urging these members of Congress to support and pass H.R. 40.
This bill establishes the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans. The commission shall 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 shall identify (1) the role of federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, (2) forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) lingering negative effects of slavery on living African-Americans and society.