Stacey Abrams: ‘Credible Political Path’ for Reparations for Black, Native Americans

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 28: Democratic Georgia Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams talks to a crowd gathered for the "Souls to The Polls" march in downtown Atlanta on October 28, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Alongside artist Common and Ambassador Andrew Young, Abrams marched with voters to a polling station open for …
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Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams believes there is a “credible political path” for reparations for African Americans and Native Americans.

The New York Times asked Abrams, who will reportedly announce this week whether she will run for Senate in Georgia, for a Sunday feature if there is a “credible political path” for making reparations a reality.

“I do,” Abrams said. “I think that reparations make sense. We need to determine what that looks like. Because we’ve refused to have the conversation about it, we’ve never been able to get to the analysis and therefore the prescription. But we have to acknowledge that in the United States of America it wasn’t simply that we didn’t like a certain group, we’ve built — no. Not we, they. The government built systems designed to exclude and to diminish the capacity of communities to participate in their own economic survival.”

Abrams, who has not closed the door on a potential 2020 presidential bid, added that “reparations are a necessary conversation for two groups: African-Americans and Native Americans.”

“Those are the groups that by law had been stripped of their autonomy and their participation in our society,” Abrams continued. “And I think there’s a credible path because people are talking about it.”

Nearly all of the Democrats running for president who have been asked about reparations have endorsed Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D-TX) bill to create a commission to study the issue while Julian Castro, the former San Antonio mayor who was former President Barack Obama’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary, has been the only candidate to date to express an openness to cash payments for the descendants of slaves.

“[I]t’s interesting to me that when it comes to Medicare for all, health care, you know the response has we need to write a big check, that when it comes to tuition-free or debt-free college, the answer has been we need to write a big check,” Castro has said. “So if the issue is compensating the descendants of slaves, I don’t think the argument about writing a big check ought to be the argument you make if you’re making the argument that a big check needs to be written for a whole bunch of other stuff. If under the Constitution we compensate people because we take their property, why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were property?”

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