The US Congress begins a debate to correct the errors of slavery

The US Congress begins a debate to correct the errors of slavery

The House Judicial Affairs Committee, Wednesday, April 14th, adopted a bill on financial compensation to reform slavery crimes in the United States. The text was adopted by 25 votes to 17, all of the Democrats and Republicans all voting against. This historic vote is part of the climate of tension created by 20-year-old Dot Wright dies Sunday at Brooklyn Center, A suburb of Minneapolis where the trial of Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd in May 2020, is currently taking place.

The House of Representatives of Congress, where the Democrats are the majority, will have to approve in a plenary session at an unspecified date on this text, It is called HR40, Referring to the promise, never fulfilled, to African American slaves freed after the Civil War to give ex-slaves “40 acres [de terre à cultiver] A mule [pour tirer une charrue] (“40 acres and a mule”). But the fate of the text is uncertain in the Senate, as Democrats will have to secure the votes of at least ten Republicans in order for it to be finally adopted.

The article is reserved for our subscribers Read also Slaves were the main ‘assets’ of farmers in the southern United States.

Compensation proposals and Republican opposition

The bill would create a committee of experts responsible for making proposals for government compensation to the descendants of nearly four million Africans who were forcibly brought to the United States between 1619 and 1865, the date of the abolition of slavery.

Treat “The injustice, cruelty, cruelty and cruelty of slavery” And the disparities that the black American minority still plagues today.

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This rating “Historical” Destined for “To continue the national debate on how to combat the abuse suffered by African Americans during slavery, apartheid, and structural racism that is still endemic in our society today.”Justice Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said before the vote.

African American Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee pleaded with her peers not to do so “Ignore the pain, history, and wisdom of this mission.”.

President Joe Biden, also a Democrat, spoke and met with elected officials of African descent in Congress on Tuesday. “linked” To support this text, she said.

But Republican members of the committee, while acknowledging the brutality of slavery, oppose the legislation. “It takes us away from the important dream of judging someone based on the content of their personality rather than the color of their skin.”Republican Rep. Chip Roy said.

The first version of the text was presented in 1989

The legislation, The first version was written and introduced in 1989 By John Conyers, Michigan’s representative, has become central once again since many African Americans died during police interventions prompting the United States to look closely at its past of slavery and the multiple forms of discrimination plaguing the black minority, which represents roughly 13% of the population .

Despite advances in the struggle for their civil rights in the 1960s, African Americans still had fewer qualifications, enjoyed less social security and lived shorter lives than whites. They also suffer from a disproportionate number of prisons compared to the rest of the American population. In 2019, the median annual income for a black family is $ 43,771, compared to $ 71,664 for a white family, according to official statistics.

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Consequently, a group of 13 experts will have to submit compensation proposals. “To the institution of slavery and [les] Racial and economic discrimination against African Americans. These experts should provide recommendations on how to calculate this compensation, what form it should take and who will be eligible.

Local reform initiatives

Many of the candidates for the 2020 Democratic Party primaries have raised the issue of compensation in the broader debate about racial inequality and income differences.

Before a decision was made at the federal level, the issue of compensation was already addressed at the local level. Small town From Evanston near ChicagoIn March, he became the first to compensate its black residents with up to $ 10 million over the next 10 years.

Residents who meet the criteria will each get $ 25,000 to finance their mortgage or renovate their homes.

And in 2019 students of Georgetown University in Washington symbolically agreed to create a fund to benefit descendants of slaves who were sold in the nineteenth century.e A century by the Jesuits who established the institution.

The World with Agence France-Presse

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