Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) reaffirmed her position on setting up a committee to study the effects of racism in the United States during a CNN town hall hosted by Don Lemon on Monday night.
The 2020 presidential hopeful reiterated her support of H.R. 40, a bill that seeks to “examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.” It was first introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) in 1989 and is currently sponsored in the House by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).
When Lemon explicitly asked if Harris supported “financial reparations,” she did not give a direct answer.
“I support that we study them,” the senator said, noting that she has studied the lifelong effects of racial trauma.
Harris added, “When you are talking about the years and years and years of trauma that were experienced because of slavery, because of Jim Crow and because of all that we have seen in terms of institutional and legal discrimination and racism, this is very real and it needs to be studied. And we need to look at exactly how the response should be played out.”
Other 2020 candidates have been pressed over the issue of direct reparation payouts specifically to the African descendants of slaves. Earlier this month, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) added a measure to H.R. 40 that would create a congressional commission to study reparations. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently said he believes there are other ways to grant reparations besides direct payouts.