Feb 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations


Photo Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports the creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African Americans.

A House panel heard testimony on the legislation last week.

  • "I think that [creation of a commission] will pass," Richmond said.

What he's saying: Richmond said that while the timeline for the commission isn't knowable, "if you start talking about free college tuition to [historically Black colleges and universities] and you start talking about free community college in Title I and all of those things, I think that you are well on your way."

  • "We have to start breaking down systemic racism and barriers that have held people of color back and especially African Americans," he said. "[W]e have to do stuff now."

What's next: Richmond pointed to a Biden executive action "breaking down barriers in housing, making sure that African Americans can pass down wealth through homeownership, that their homes are not valued less than homes in different communities just because of the neighborhood it's in."

  • "We don't want to wait on a study," he said. "We're going to start acting now."

Watch a clip from the interview.

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