Biden urged to act on reparations in new letter from hundreds of activists and lawmakers

Washington DC - Over 400 lawmakers, activists, academics, and more are once again calling on President Joe Biden to act on reparations and other racial justice priorities in a joint letter sent Thursday.

President Joe Biden is facing growing pressure to enact a federal reparations commission for Black Americans by executive order.
President Joe Biden is facing growing pressure to enact a federal reparations commission for Black Americans by executive order.  © REUTERS

"As we face another election year, this conversation regarding urgent executive action on reparations is not just about policy – it is about the people of the United States of America, the fate of our democracy, national unity, and national security," the lawmakers and advocates wrote.

The letter – led by UCLA Sociology Professor and author Dr. Marcus Anthony Hunter – was transmitted to the White House on the anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.

Signatories included Representatives Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Cori Bush, and Jamaal Bowman, as well as National Action Network President Al Sharpton, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, celebrity stylist Law Roach, actor Erika Alexander, and more.

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The action follows a similar letter to the White House on February 19 demanding Biden use his executive authority to fulfill the mandate in several critical pieces of legislation. The measures included H.R. 40 and S. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, and H.Res.414, Congresswoman Cori Bush's Reparations Now resolution.

"We call upon you to meet with the Congressional members and advocates as soon as possible to tackle and attend to the unfinished work of advancing comprehensive equity through executive orders and actions," signatories urged in their latest appeal.

"The state of our Union depends upon it."

Biden faces growing pressure for executive action on reparations

Pressure on Biden to deliver on reparations is mounting as the 2024 election approaches.

The 81-year-old included support for a reparations study commission in his Lift Every Voice Plan for Black America during his 2020 White House campaign. Since taking office, he has not followed through to make that promise a reality, even though he can do so without congressional approval.

As a high-stakes rematch with Donald Trump looms, advocates have said that enacting a reparations commission may be the key to securing the Black support needed to push Biden over the top.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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