U.S. Rep Joyce Beatty is the elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). News of her ascension to the role was announced Thursday, Dec. 3.
“It is the honor of a lifetime to be voted by my peers to lead the Congressional Black Caucus in the 117th Congress. Right now, our nation is facing three pandemics that have disproportionately impacted the lives of Black Americans: COVID-19, economic turmoil, and social injustice,” Beatty said in a statement. “As Chair, I will work with the Biden Administration, House and Senate Leadership, as well as my congressional colleagues, to defeat the pandemic and ensure better days lie ahead for all of us. Moreover, I will use my voice to address enduring economic and health disparities and fight to break the chains of systemic racism that have held back the Black community for far too long.”
This is not the first time Beatty has addressed systemic racism. In an interview with Columbus Monthly, the Ohio Congresswoman voiced her support for reparations for slavery for Black Americans.
“I think reparations can come in a lot of forms. I believe in reparations, and I support that. I don’t know how we define it specifically,” Beatty said. “What’s the monetary value? How do you calculate it? How do you find it? Do we do reparations as something that allows us to move forward by being very clear that African Americans have been discriminated against? Do we go back and ask for 40 acres and a mule, as so many people say?”
Beatty added that she knew something had to be done to atone for the hundreds of years of slavery, racism and oppression Black Americans have endured.
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“We know this nation gave us a check marked insufficient funds. And what this legislation is trying to do is to establish how do we get our justice out of it now and moving forward,” Joyce Beatty said in reference to H.R. 40, which seeks to create a commission to study reparations.
“In the ideal world, it would be something that we could put in place that would allow my grandchildren and those yet born, not to have to be still asking for reparations,” Beatty continued. “We’re looking forward saying, where do we start with that? What are the things that we put together that the people will want?”
Last year on June 19 – the day Juneteenth is commemorated to celebrate Black Americans being released from slavery – the first congressional hearing on reparations in 12 years was convened to discuss the bill.
Beatty said though she is not usually a proponent of studies, she believes H.R. 40 is important.
“While I’m not traditionally a fan of studies, if you ask the people in my district, you will get all kinds of things. So we want to hear. There’s something out there that says every Black American, or everyone that is entitled to it should get X amount of dollars. We have to figure out how you fund that. We have to figure out who determines that. We want to look at what’s realistic of taking our past, bringing it to the present, and making sure that we don’t have to relive this again,” Beatty said.