Ayanna Pressley Voices Support For Reparations

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2022/03/18/ayanna-pressley-voices-support-for-reparations/

Should the United States provide reparations to the descendants of African slaves?

U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Hyde Park) thinks so.

Pressley voiced her support for reparations on The Boston Globe‘s Black News Hour on Friday morning.

“The reason why I ran for Congress is because the inequities and disparities and racial injustices, many of them that we see playing out for generations at the state and municipal level were initiated by federal policy,” Pressley said. “To me, this is really where it all starts. This is where we undo centuries of harm. This is where we chart a different, brighter path forward. So:  women’s history month, black women, address the maternal morbidity crisis, cancel student debt, you know, reparations, pay equity, pay me what you owe me, black home ownership, we want it all.”

Pressley has been voicing support for reparations since at least 2019.

For example, on June 1, 2021, she tweeted, “Black folks built this country for free. Reparations are a refund and the bare minimum.”

And in a June 2019 YouTube video, she said that supporting reparations isn’t about having a victim mentality.

“No one is playing victim here and no one is race baiting,” Pressley said. “If the best policies are informed by data, the data supports the fact that black Americans continue to be in the bottom of every outcome. When it comes to health, education, and economics, so much work remains to be done in order to bend the arc of justice to ensure the full freedom of black Americans.”

The left-leaning Roosevelt Institute has stated that reparations should be valued at around $10 trillion to $12 trillion, or about $250,000 for each black American. That’s similar to a figure on Pressley’s campaign web site that says black Bostonians have a median net worth of $8 while white Bostonians are worth on average $247,000, which was reported by The Boston Globe in December 2017, citing a 2015 study.

However, the Roosevelt Institute’s direct wealth transfer is on the high end of slavery reparation proposals. Marianne Williamson, who was a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, proposed a reparations plan that called for “economic and educational renewal” that she said would cost somewhere between $200 billion and $500 billion over 20 years, according to CNN. It did not provide direct cash payments to black Americans.

Supporting reparations is politically unpopular. A June 2020 poll conducted by Reuters found that only about 20 percent of the country supports using “taxpayer money to pay damages to descendants of enslaved people in the United States.” About half of black respondents supported the idea compared to only about 10 percent of whites.

Pressley hasn’t specified which reparations model she supports, and her office could not be reached for comment on Friday to clarify the matter.


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