Activists Urge Biden To Act On Slave Reparations By Juneteenth

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Ahead of Juneteenth, activists are demonstrating in front of the White House and urging President Joe Biden to sign an executive order to study reparations before Sunday (June 19).

According to ABC News, activists have set up a first-of-its-kind visual installation to call attention to the letter that civil rights groups sent to the White House last month, which urged Biden to take action on slave reparations.

Staged on the Ellipse near the White House, the installation includes signage, a large Pan-African flag made of flowers, and mulch provided by Black farmers, which serves as a visual representation of the need for reparations.

After the Civil War, promises of "40 acres and a mule" to formerly enslaved persons went unfulfilled.

Now, decades after the war, activists are still pushing to merely study reparations. H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, has been introduced in every legislative session since 1989 and has failed to make it through Congress every time.

The legislation aims to launch a 13-person reparation committee to study "and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, legal and other racial and economic discrimination, and the impact of these forces on living African Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies ..."

When asked if Biden would sign an executive order for reparation studies, former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, "It would be up to him, he has executive order authority, he would certainly support a study, and we'll see where Congress moves on that issue."

Nkechi Taifa, the director of the Reparation Education Project, said she hopes the demonstration will push lawmakers to act on reparations.

"If they think they're gonna rest on Juneteenth because it's a holiday and a watered-down policing reform bill -- that's not enough. Black people have been run roughshod over, you know, for centuries, and it just, it just cannot continue," Taifa told ABC News.

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