(Philadelphia, PA) Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party nominee for President, participated today in the Juneteenth observances in Philadelphia. The day marks when slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865 first learned of the Emancipation Proclamation from union soldiers.
"It is unfortunate that more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, African-Americans still have been denied equality in our country. We need to ensure that all Americans have access to housing, a living wage job, universal health care, and a free, quality education, including college. It is also time for the United States to deliver on the promise of reparations for the sins of slavery, a promise made in 1865," said Stein.
To address the issue of reparations, Stein supports the creation of a commission to study reparations proposals and make recommendations to Congress, as called for in HR40, sponsored by Cong. John Conyers. She supports a Truth and Reconciliation process for slavery similar to what was done for apartheid.
Stein also said she would enforce laws and strengthen policies against racial discrimination in jobs, education, housing (mortgages, rental housing), and criminal justice and against the growing segregation of housing and schools.
Stein also said if elected she will make Juneteenth Independence Day a National Day of Observance in the United States. Education and self-improvement have been consistent themes of Juneteenth celebrations.
In January of this year, a UN Working group on People of African Descent reported that "The colonial history, the legacy of enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism, and racial inequality in the US remains a serious challenge as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation… Ideology ensuring the domination of one group over another, continues to negatively impact the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today."
The UN group cited "the persistent gap in almost all the human development indicators, such as life expectancy, income and wealth, level of education, housing, employment and labor, and even food security, among African-Americans and the rest of the US population," and pointed to police killings, the criminalization of poverty, environmental racism, discriminatory voter ID laws and schools' insufficient teaching about the history of slavery as constituting a human rights crisis that must be addressed.