Rep. John Conyers, the longest serving congressional member, is pushing the conversation surrounding reparations for African-Americans forward. According to NBC News, Rep. Conyers held a Capitol Hill briefing that gathered activists, politicians, community leaders, and scholars to spark dialogue about how America should address its history of slavery.
“I’m not giving up,” said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) who hosted a Capitol Hill briefing recently that drew activists, legal experts, scholars, politicos and community leaders from across the country. “Slavery is a blemish on this nation’s history, and until it is formally addressed, our country’s story will remain marked by this blight.”
Since 1989, Conyers’—a lawyer and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee—has repeatedly introduced—HR. 40—a bill that would establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery in the U.S. and its early colonies, and recommend appropriate remedies.
In January, the 87-year-old lawmaker re-introduced updated legislation for the 115th Congress. Now titled The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, it’s similar to the earlier measure but has been amended to reflect expanded legal and societal discourse about the Transatlantic Slave Trade and reparations.
According to “NBC News,” the HR. 40 bill that Rep. Conyers re-introduced in January has been backed by several groups including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Green Party.
“Reparations is repairing or restoring,” said human rights lawyer Nkechi Taifa. “It’s a formal acknowledgment and apology, recognition that the injury continues, commitment to redress and actual compensation.”