Jun 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Sheila Jackson Lee says Juneteenth holiday a "launching point" for studying reparations

Sheila Jackson Lee smiling.
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) at a bill enrollment signing ceremony for the Juneteenth National Independence Day . Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Juneteenth's establishment as a federal holiday should serve as a launching point for Congress to create a commission on reparations for African Americans, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said at an Axios event on Friday.

Why it matters: Jackson Lee, who has long worked to get a commission on reparations funded, believes now is the time to start "correcting the social ills" of society.

  • President Biden signed legislation Thursday establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. It's the first one established since the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
  • The commission would examine how reparations for African Americans would work and how descendants of enslaved people would be compensated.

What she's saying: "It is also the launching point for correcting the social ills, like improving our police community relationships, getting the voting system turned right side up, making sure we don't have that unfortunate situation of people being denied the right to vote," Jackson Lee said.

  • "I think our Congress, our House, can be a leader in voting on a commission established by the United States Congress to study slavery, to discuss their proposals for the disparities that are still going on today," Jackson Lee said.

Watch the full event here.

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