Congresswoman Pressley Makes Reparations Demand on the House Floor: ‘Pay Us What You Owe Us’
Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley appeared to call for reparations for the country’s black citizens during a House floor speech Thursday.
The far-left Democrat and member of the self-proclaimed “squad” spoke at length about a perceived systemic bias against black Americans.
Pressley, describing the Black Lives Matter movement as a “mandate” on all of America, said it is time for the country to “pay us what you owe us.”
“I rise today on behalf of every black family that has been robbed of a child,” Pressley said.
“On behalf of every family member that has been forced to see their loved one lynched on national television. Driving while black. Jogging while black. Sleeping while black. We have been criminalized for the very way we show up in the world. Under the harsh gaze of far too many, my black body is seen as a threat, always considered armed,” she added.
“Centuries of institutionalized oppression will not be undone overnight, for racism in America is as structural as the marble pillars of this very institution,” Pressley continued.
“With the power of the pen, we must legislate accountability, dismantle these systems and move in the direction of justice and healing.”
Referring to widespread racial and civil unrest since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minnesota, Pressley appeared to demand reparations for black Americans.
“There is a rallying cry in communities across the nation. Black Lives Matter is a mandate from the people,” she said.
“It’s time. Pay us what you owe us. Our black skin is not a crime, it is the beautiful robe of nation builders.”
Pressley has previously expressed support for efforts to defund police departments and to end qualified immunity, which protects police officers from lawsuits.
“Qualified immunity shields police from accountability, impedes true justice, and undermines the constitutional rights of every person in this country,” Pressley said in a statement earlier this month.
Pressley’s apparent call for reparations, though, might not find a great deal of support in Congress.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted this week found that only one in five respondents said they support using “taxpayer money to pay damages to descendants of enslaved people in the United States.”
The poll revealed that around 80 percent of Republicans said they were opposed to financial reparations, while roughly a third of Democrats supported reparations.
Only one in 10 white respondents supported the idea, compared to roughly half of black respondent.
“If, in fact, there are ways to get direct payments for reparations, I want to see it,” Biden said earlier this month during a virtual conversation with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Pressley was floated as a potential Biden running mate last week by Vanity Fair.
“I’m just following the work and wherever the work takes me. I wasn’t planning to run for City Council. I wasn’t planning to run for Congress. I’m just following the work. So wherever the work takes me, that’s where I’m going,” she told the outlet.