Rashida Tlaib: ‘Direct Payment’ Just One Element of Reparations

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) attends a House Financial Services Committee hearing where Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was the witness, on Capitol Hill May 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from the Secretary on the State of the International Financial System, and President …
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In a recent exchange with reporter Nicholas Ballasy, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) signaled her support for reparations for descendants of American slaves, saying, “I support any opportunity for restorative justice.”

Last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties welcomed actor Danny Glover, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), author Ta-Nehisi Coates, and others to discuss reparations. In January, subcommittee member Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) reintroduced H.R. 40 to establish a commission to study reparations. In his prepared remarks, Glover called the hearing “historic,” expressing appreciation for being given the opportunity to offer his views on what he called a “reckoning of a crime against humanity that is foundational to the development of democracy and material well-being” of the United States.

A transcript is as follows: 

NICHOLAS BALLASY: Congresswoman, I’m just going to ask you about your tweet regarding the reparations hearing. What do you hope is the next step coming out of the reparations hearing that was done yesterday?

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: I hope there is a series conversation about voting on reparations. H.R. 40 has been introduced by predecessor for decades, Congressman Conyers. That is something that is very important to my district… This is an incredibly important issue. If you think about any work on immigrant rights, on civil rights, on labor rights, it’s always started in Detroit. This is something that is very rooted in trying to combat what’s happened and continues to happen with black Americans not being actually able to get on the same level after slavery.

BALLASY: Some witnesses at the hearing mentioned direct payments. Others mentioned investing in African-American communities around the country. What would you support? Direct payments to individuals who are descendants of slaves?

REP. TLAIB: I support any opportunity for restorative justice and that can come up all above in some instances, but I think there’s a serious conversation happening in committee and I hope it continues to happen regarding reparations. But I guess it should be determined by all of us and I can tell you at home it is direct payment that people want to see but also increased access to higher education, to real equitable funding in education systems, right now, across the country.

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