Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has decided to enter the heated debate over reparations for the American slave trade and its aftereffects. At a recent campaign appearance at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Sanders let the predominantly Black audience in on his feelings. Sanders is quoted as saying. “There’s nothing that anybody can do to undo the deaths and misery, how many people we don’t even know who died on the way over here in the ships. But the United States has to make an attempt to ‘wipe the slate clean’ by acknowledging the truth.” When a member of the audience asked him if he’d ever offer a presidential apology Sanders responded “Yes”. He went on to state “Truth is not always an easy thing. And a lot of things that we have done in this country that are shameful, we’ve gotta recognize that.” The United States government has never officially apologized for slavery, even with President Obama in office. An attempt was made several years ago but the Senate could not agree on the wording of the resolution.
Sanders stated he does not believe that Black Americans should be given a check for reparations; he did state that he favors aid and additional funding to low income communities. Sanders stated, “As everybody in this room knows, what we’re seeing in many African-American communities, outrageously high levels of unemployment, inadequate education, inadequate healthcare. I think what we have got to do as a nation is invest in those communities who need that…investment the most. Communities with long-term structural issues should become the communities that receive the highest priority for federal assistance. Let us make sure that in every way, federal funding goes to those communities who need it the most. In most cases, though those areas are inhabited by Blacks.”
Sanders previously has stated that the issue of cash reparation payments directly to Blacks is dead as legislation in the US Senate. His position on reinvestment into the community is similar to what Hillary Clinton has proposed.