Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing at Capitol Hill on Wednesday (June 19) to talk about the “legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.”
During the hearing, the panel discussed H.R. 40, legislation that would “establish a commission to study the consequences and impacts of slavery and make recommendations for reparations proposals.”
On Tuesday (June 18), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell caused an uproar when he said reparations aren’t a “good idea,” something Rep. Jerry Nadler addressed with Coates.
In what was an undeniably eloquent response, Coates outlined how slavery still impacts African-Americans today.
The last time Congress held a hearing on the topic of reparations was 2007, but the idea has recently gained new traction.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) sponsored the resolution earlier this year and advocated for this week’s hearing, while Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hinted her support in February during an event at Howard University.
“While we have focused on the social effects of slavery and segregation, its continuing economic implications remain largely ignored by mainstream analysis,” Pelosi said.
June 19, which is also referred to as Juneteenth or Emancipation Day, is particularly important because it celebrates the end of slavery.
On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army finally notified slaves of their emancipation more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had been written and read.
Juneteenth started in Texas and is the oldest known U.S. celebration of the end of slavery. There are 46 states with laws pertaining to Juneteenth. In fact, Pennsylvania on Wednesday became the latest state to officially recognize the day.
Twitter has exploded with reactions to the hearing. Check some of them out below.