June 10, 2020 Media

Colorado Politics: DeGette cosponsors proposal for racial reconciliation commission

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette is among the cosponsors of a congressional resolution to form a racial reconciliation commission, prompted by a week of protests over the killing of black Americans by police.

“To most effectively dismantle the systems of inequity and police brutality that led to the murder of George Floyd and countless other black Americans, we must fully understand the shameful legacy of racism in the United States,” DeGette said, referring to the man killed on May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody. “The Commission will study our dark history of slavery, institutional racism and discrimination against people of color, and how that has shaped the country we live in today. This will help us avoid band-aid fixes, and instead address the deep-seeded problems that have plagued our nation for far too long.”

More than 40 countries have conducted truth and reconciliation commissions, including Canada, which published findings in 2015 about the country’s physical and cultural genocide of native peoples. In post-apartheid South Africa, hearings were televised as victims confronted their perpetrators, and the country still provides higher education assistance to victims of the racist regime.

The resolution, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., cites a long list of racial injustices, including discrimination against African American soldiers after World War II, the usurpation of land from tribal nations and Japanese internment, among other examples.

The resolution requests a Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation, whose task would be to “properly acknowledge, memorialize, and be a catalyst for progress toward jettisoning the belief in a hierarchy of human value, embracing our common humanity, and permanently eliminating persistent racial inequities.”