WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Players Coalition, in partnership with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, urged the House of Representatives to pass HR-40 in a joint press conference today. The bill calls for the establishment of a commission to study reparations proposals for African Americans.
Players Coalition Task Force Member Benjamin Watson was joined at the press conference by fellow Players Coalition member Chris Archer of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Michael Thomas of the Houston Texans. Additionally, MLS Player Jeremy Ebobisse of the Portland Timbers sent in a video showcasing his support for the bill.
"We share in Congresswoman Jackson Lee's conviction that reparations strikes at the heart of the systemic racism in our society," said Watson. "Players Coalition exists to end social injustices and racial inequality so future generations have the opportunity to thrive without barriers. That is why we believe the passage of HR-40 will help do just that," he added.
HR-40 was first introduced in 1989 by late Congressman John Conyers as a bill to establish a commission to study slavery in the U.S. and whether reparations were warranted for African Americans for the oppression and injustices inflicted during involuntary servitude. Congressman Conyers introduced HR-40 every year thereafter as a way of encouraging people to at least "study" whether reparations should be awarded to African Americans.
"The bill has been introduced for 30 years -- yet for 30 years, it has languished," added Archer. "If the protests we are seeing around the country have demonstrated anything, it is that immediate action can no longer wait."
"H.R. 40–Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, which is Co-sponsored by over 150 congressional members from both sides of the aisle, seeks to end centuries of racial disparities. The diversity in race, ethnicity, and religious backgrounds of our sponsors speak to a sense of coming together. H.R.- 40 is an important step in finding effective, long-term solutions to these problems. Such solutions can trace their origins to our nation's shameful history of slavery and anti-black racism. We must move towards ending the racial divisiveness and begin to heal our nation and our families in the community," said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Support of HR-40 is one of many calls to action Players Coalition members have sent to elected officials to reform the criminal justice system. Players Coalition has written to Congress urging the end to Qualified Immunity and, most recently, submitted written testimony to the Ohio state legislature urging the passage of SB 256, which would end juvenile life without parole.
HR-40 currently has 155 Co-Sponsors and the support of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Leadership in the House and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The goal is to reach 10-15 more sponsors following the press conference and move the bill to a floor vote.
About Players Coalition
Players Coalition is structured as an independent 501(c)(3) (charity) and 501(c)(4) (advocacy) organization, working with professional athletes, coaches and owners across leagues to improve social justice and racial equality in our country.
SOURCE Players Coalition