Rep. Barbara Lee is leading a panel discussion on racial healing and reparations Tuesday evening as a part of the 6th annual National Day of Racial Healing. The panel will focus on the history and progress of movements for racial justice, with particular attention to the topic of reparations.
“Racism is in the DNA of this country, and inequality is at the heart of every crisis we’re facing right now, from COVID-19 to housing justice to climate change,” Lee said to NewsOne. “It is essential to understand our past in order to move forward and heal.”
She will be joined by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Dr. Marcus Hunter, Dr. Gail Christopher and Dr. Ron Daniels at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Jackson Lee took charge of introducing and whipping support for H.R. 40, a bill to commission a study and develop proposals for reparations. H.R. 40 is an update to a bill first introduced in the late 1980s by Rep. John Conyers. After his passing, Jackson Lee saw it as her mission to continue pushing the conversation and gathering support to move the legislation forward finally.
Scholars with deep history and knowledge of justice and transformation join the congresswomen. Hurter is an endowed chair at UCLA in the Division of Social Sciences and also served as the inaugural chair of the African American studies department.
Daniels has a long history in the reparations movement and serves as the convener of the National African American Reparations Commission. He is also president of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century.
Christopher, founder of Ntianu Garden: Center for Healing and Nature, round out the conversation. She previously served as the Senior Advisor and Vice President for Truth Racial Healing and Transformation at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and helped establish the National Day of Racial Healing.
“We celebrate the National Day of Racial Healing on the day after Martin Luther King Jr. day to maintain a focus on what #MLK lived and died for: creating and sustaining the beloved community. #HowWeHeal,” Christopher tweeted.
Celebrated the day after the country recognizes the life and work of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, the National Day of Racial Healing was created by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as a part of its work with community groups working on truth, racial healing and transformation. Kellogg sees its truth, racial, healing and transformation work as doing more than getting people “talking about race.”
Like the MLK holiday, a dedicated day of reflection and conversation doesn’t let people off the rest of the year. For her part, Lee continues to demand accountability wherever the need arises. Earlier in the day, she highlighted her work with Sen. Cory Booker to pass a U.S. Commission on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation in Congress.
“Today is the National Day of Racial Healing. Only by understanding our past—& confronting the wrongs that still haunt us—can we truly move forward. Read about the US Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation I’m fighting for w/ @SenBooker
“Congress needs to implement reparations and a commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation,” Lee said. “Tonight’s discussion will bring together experts from across the country to strategize ways to get it done.”