Mr. President, the call for justice in America is at a historic high. This current call for justice is founded squarely on the issue of reparations. This is an American call for justice—not only has it been identified as the major issue by Black Americans via a 2021 Congressional Black Caucus poll, but in a recent USA Today poll, 83 percent of Americans said racism is a problem facing the U.S.
This explains why an array of Americans has enthusiastically joined this call for reparatory justice—allied ethnic groups, many of the largest social justice organizations in the country, a diversity of religious orders, America’s most prestigious universities, major U.S. corporations, some of the largest philanthropies in America, and of immense importance, following Evanston, Illinois—numerous municipalities and states. This is proof that much of America wants to see this issue addressed and resolved now!
In the last Congress, leaders within the Democratic Party demonstrated their political will for a Reparations Commission. Two hundred seventeen confirmed yes votes in the House and half of the Senate committee chairs, along with the Senate leader, and many of their colleagues, signed on to the Senate bill.
However, as you are aware, Mr. President, the bipartisanship that is needed to pass the bill in the Senate does not exist. Thus, the only way to move this issue forward, which much of America is demanding, is through an executive order.
This must be done immediately as the next presidential election is approaching. On one side of this issue are those calling for “No Reparations, No Vote” in their attempt to drive Black voters to the Republican Party. On the other side are those of us who fully understand the significance of the Black vote for a Democratic Party win.
Statistics have shown that since 1960—except for 1964—the Black vote was the deciding factor in each of the Democratic Party’s wins in presidential elections. In essence, the Black vote gave America the following presidents: Kennedy, Carter, Clinton, Obama, and you Mr. Biden.
A growing number of major publications have recognized the dependence of the Democratic Party on the Black vote. Immediately after your election, Vox reported, “The Black Vote is key to Democratic success,” arguing that you “could not have been competitive without it.” At this same time, the New York Magazine shouted, “Joe Biden Owes It All to African American Voters.”
In April of this year, Time Magazine wrote, “Black Voters Gave Biden the White House. They May Determine Whether He Stays There.” The writer concluded, “Put plainly: you can’t win the nomination or the White House as a Democrat without the Black vote. And finally, just last month, the Washington Post echoed the Time magazine writer, saying the Black vote “will be crucial in a Biden bid for reelection.”
We are 20 percent of your base, Mr. President, more than all other people of color combined. When we come out and vote, Democrats win! Certainly, Mr. Biden, the Republicans are fully aware of this as they have directed enormous resources to suppress the Black vote by spending nearly $1 billion in the last election and introducing over 900 pieces of legislation, according to Marc Morial of the National Urban League.
The Democratic Party needs to both counter these efforts by Republicans and address the low enthusiasm for the Democratic Party in the Black community. This counter-offensive must be an immediate statement announcing the implementation of an HR 40-like Reparations Commission via executive order by the President of the United States of America. This, and only this, will generate the turnout in the Black community necessary for a Democratic Party victory in 2024.
The Democratic Party can no longer waffle on this issue of reparations. We need a Reparations Commission now! You, Mr. President, need a Reparations Commission now for any hope of a 2024 victory.
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) is a trade association of the more than 200 African American-owned community newspapers in the United States.