The White House has just announced a special concert to commentate Juneteenth. But what some are taking note of is that while President Joe Biden is calling for a celebration of Juneteenth, which marks the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, the administration has been silent on reparations–no executive order, no presidential reparations commission.
The argument came up when Juneteenth was made a federal holiday in 2021 that Black America didn’t need another holiday; what is needed is reparations.
The White House Juneteenth Concert is set for June 13, even though Juneteenth is actually on June 19. The concert will take place on the South Lawn with such performers as Audra McDonald, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Jennifer Hudson, Ledisi, Morgan State University Marching Band, the Tennessee State University Marching Band, among others, according to a White House press release.
In 2021, President Biden signed bipartisan legislation establishing Juneteenth as the nation’s newest Federal holiday.
Although a few states and institutions have examined the case for reparations, longtime reparations advocate William Darity, co-author with A. Kirsten Mullen of “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-first Century,” has consistently argued that only the federal government has the budget to pay for reparations for Black Americans. To help close the racial wealth gap, the U.S. government should pay $14 trillion in reparations to Black Americans, according to Darity.
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Despite this, the federal legislation H.R.-40, which calls for the creation of a commission to study reparations, has been stalled for months.
Even Human Rights Watch has put out a call for reparations, stating it is time for the U.S. to “account for its legacy of enslavement is long overdue.”
(Left to Right) Method Man of Wu-Tang Clan performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on April 28, 2023, at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)/President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the East Room of the White House in Washington, June 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)/Ledisi performs at the 7th annual Love Rocks NYC concert benefitting God’s Love We Deliver at the Beacon Theatre on March 9, 2023, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)