White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond says it’s “doable” for the Biden administration to make first-term progress on racial equality, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.
“We have to start breaking down systemic racism and barriers that have held people of color back and especially African-Americans,” Richmond said in an Axios interview aired Sunday on HBO.
Richmond’s remarks come after President Biden voiced support to the House’s attempt to create a commission on reparations.
The commission would recommend ways to educate Americans on slavery and suggest remedies, including financial payments from the government to compensate descendants of slaves.
Though Richmond thinks the commission will pass reparations-related legislation, he wants Biden to start acting now, citing an executive order the president released Jan. 26 that focuses on includes prison and housing reform.
“The president is committed to working with Congress to pass bold legislation that advances racial equity, including increasing funding for small businesses, investing in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions,” says a press release for the order.
Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-TX) introduced a bill last year to create a commission to study reparations.
Richmond argued in his interview the administration would act on these issues even without the commission.
“We don’t want to wait on a study,” he said. “We’re going to start acting now.”