Marianne Williamson Unveils $500 billion Reparations Plan
Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has unveiled her plan to address the issue of reparations, proposing between $200 to $500 billion for the policy.
During an interview with CNN, Williamson said her reparations plan calls for a commission of African American leaders to decide how the money should be disbursed. The commission would be made up of 30 to 50 people, who themselves are descendants of American slaves. According Williamson, "They come from culture, they come from academia, they come from politics. They are people who have a background of deep understanding and research on this topic." She goes on to explain,
"I have proposed $200 to $500 billion to be disbursed over a period of 20 years. It would be this reparations council that decides how is the money disbursed within the context of the stipulation on the part of the US government that the money is to be used for economic and educational renewal."
Williamson recognizes that her announced reparations plan will not erase the history of slavery in America, nor its ugly aftermath. As revealed on her campaign's website,
"[The Reparations Plan] is only one part of a multi-dimensional healing process. But it will go far toward ending a painful, horrific chapter in American history, and will give future generations of Americans a chance to begin again on the higher ground of true reconciliation.”
The spiritual author spoke about reparations during the CNN debates last month, but she did not offer any specifics on how reparations would be funded at the time. In her interview with “New Day,” Williamson said reparations are “an acknowledgment of a wrong that has been done, a debt owed and the willingness of a nation to pay it.”
Some members of Congress do not believe reparations are a good idea. In June, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he opposed reparations and cited Barack Obama’s presidency as a reason why he does not believe they are a good idea or necessary.
“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea,” McConnell previously told reporters, according to BuzzFeed News. “We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African American president.”
“I think we’re always a work in progress in this country but no one currently alive was responsible for that. So no, I don’t think reparations are a good idea,” McConnell continued.
Other politicians have also spoken in favor of reparations. Senator Cory Booker, a Democratic presidential hopeful, introduced a reparations bill in the Senate back in April. The bill, which is a companion bill to HR 40, currently has 12 co-sponsors for a commission to study reparations, The Root previously reported. Other Democratic candidates who are sponsors of the bill include Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“We cannot address the institutional racism and white supremacy that has economically oppressed African Americans for generations without first fully documenting the extent of the harms of slavery and its painful legacy,” Booker said in a previous statement. “It’s important that we right the wrongs of our nation’s most discriminatory policies, which halted the upward mobility of African American communities.”
In March, Senator Warren said she supported the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, stating that “it’s time to start the national, full-blown conversation about reparations.”
“That means I support the bill in the House to appoint a congressional panel of experts, of people who are studying this, who talk about different ways we may be able to do it, and to make a report back to Congress so that we can as a nation do what’s right and begin to heal,” Warren previously said during a CNN town hall in Jackson, Mississippi.
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter