The Hill is reporting this morning that Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has announced that Native Americans would be part of her plan to provide reparations for slavery and other past crimes committed by the U.S. government.
Senator Warren was in Manchester, New Hampshire giving a speech last night and told the McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner that including Native Americans would be “an important part of the conversation” about reparations. Several other Democratic candidates have announced support for reparations, which is a popular issue among minority populations but very controversial in the larger electorate. Other high-profile Democratic challengers who support slavery reparations include Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), former HUD secretary Julián Castro, and author Marianne Williamson.
Warren was asked to explain her position on reparations, and the senator mentioned America’s “ugly history” of racism. She then pointed out that she had introduced a bill in Congress to address housing discrimination against African-Americans.
“America has an ugly history of racism,” Warren told attendees, according to the report. “We need to confront it head-on. And we need to talk about the right way to address it and make change.”
“I have a housing bill that talks about more recent forms of discrimination which we also need to address head-on,” she continued.
Warren’s housing discrimination legislation would make low-income rental housing more available throughout the United States. It is strongly supported by members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Senator Harris affirmed her support for the idea of reparations in a statement Thursday after making similar comments in a radio interview.
“We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities,” the California senator said in her released statement. “I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.”
On Tuesday Warren proposed a universal childcare program, paid for by a tax on high-net-worth individuals, to help families unable to find affordable care. When she announced her candidacy for the 2020 nomination she said she would base her campaign on the theme of economic equality for all Americans.
Among announced Democratic candidates, Warren and Harris are considered frontrunners, along with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.