Showing posts with label Sheila Jackson Lee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sheila Jackson Lee. Show all posts

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee's speech at the March for Voting Rights

On the 58th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee spoke to thousands gathered on the Mall and call for swift Senate action to pass H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee reintroduces Reparations Bill

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas recently reintroduced a bill that is the first step toward giving reparations to Black Americans whose lives have been impacted by the slavery of their ancestors.

Lee recently introduced H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, to the House Floor.

The legislation examines the specific role slavery played in creating inequality in the lives of Black Americans, as well as recommend a formal apology from the U.S. government.

“Today there are more people at the table –– more activists, more scholars, more CEOs, more state and local officials, and more members of Congress,” Lee said in a press release. “However, despite this progress and the election of the first American President of African descent, the legacy of slavery lingers heavily in this nation.

“In short, the Commission aims to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African Americans, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation to the desegregation process and the present day. The Commission would also make recommendations concerning any apology and compensation to begin the long-delayed process of atonement for slavery,” she said.

Lee also acknowledged the lack of financial restitution as the main factor in many of the issues the Black community faces today.

“These economic issues are the root cause for many critical issues in the African-American community today, such as education, health care, and criminal justice policy, including policing practices. The call for reparations represents a commitment to entering a constructive dialogue on the role of slavery and racism in shaping present-day conditions in our community and American society.”

Reparations legislation was first introduced in the House by the late Representative John Conyers in 1989. Conyers argued for reparations throughout his final years in Congress before he retired in 2017. Conyers died in 2019.

When he retired, Lee took up the torch to sponsor the bill and step up her campaign after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020.

“I just simply ask, why not and why not now? If not all of us, then who?” she said, per a report by the Detroit News. “God bless us as we pursue the final justice for those who lived in slavery for 250 years in the United States of America.”


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

U.S. Conference of Mayors expresses support for reparations

Last month at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) 88th Annual Meeting, the Conference’s Executive Committee unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (H.R. 40/S. 1083), introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). It was one of the first acts of the USCM under new President and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. The mayor has pledged to put forward an ambitious agenda entitled American Breakthrough, and this reparations legislation is an important building block of that effort.
President Fischer recently sent a letter to Sen. Booker and Rep. Jackson Lee, reiterating support for the bill and talking about the importance of breaking down systemic barriers to justice and equality. In the letter, President Fischer writes:
“We recognize and support your legislation as a concrete first step in our larger reckoning as a nation, and a next step to guide the actions of both federal and local leaders who have promised to do better by our Black residents.
“Our support of your bicameral legislation is not just an endorsement – it is a resolution. We have resolved to do better for our Black residents by promoting equal rights and opportunity through the implementation of policy reforms at the local level, as well as through our advocacy for action at the federal level.
“This year, the nation’s mayors will work diligently on a national platform known as an American Breakthrough, which will be informed by mayor-led work groups on critical interconnected challenges: Police Reform and Racial Justice; Guiding the COVID-19 Response and Health Equity; Eliminating Poverty; Dismantling Systemic Racism; and Supporting Equitable Economic Recovery. We are committed to doing our role in local government to disrupt systemic racism, which inhibits the realization of a nation of liberty, prosperity, and justice for all.”
The full letter can be found here.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Sheila Jackson Lee explains her bill #HR40: Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals

Watch Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18th Distric)t explain her bill #HR40-Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The Congresswoman explains why she decided to introduce this very important bill and it's next steps.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

House Judiciary Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Legislation to Study Slavery Reparations

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties has issued a press release about a hearing it will hold a hearing on H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act which was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.

Read that release below:

June 19th: House Judiciary Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on H.R. 40, Legislation to Study Slavery Reparations

Washington, D.C. – On June 19th at 10:00 a.m., the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will hold a hearing on H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The purpose of the hearing is to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.   

Witnesses:       Ta-Nehisi Coates, Distinguished Writer in Residence, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University
Danny Glover, Actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. Decade for People of African Descent
Katrina Browne, Documentarian: Traces of the Trade
Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Episcopal Bishop of Maryland
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Economist and Political Commentator
Professor Eric J. Miller, Loyola Marymount University
Republican witnesses to be announced      

Date:               June 19, 2019

Time:               10:00 a.m.

Location:         2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington D.C.

Livestream:     The hearing will stream live here

Background: H.R. 40, the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act,” would create a commission to study the history of slavery in the United States and in the American colonies from 1619 to 1865; the role of the federal and state governments in supporting slavery; federal and state laws that discriminated against the descendants of African slaves; other forms of discrimination against the descendants of African slaves; and the lingering effects of slavery on African Americans.  The commission would also make recommendations as to appropriate ways to educate the American public about its fin
116th Congress

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Interim President and CEO Statement on the Resignation of Board Chair Rep. Jackson Lee

WASHINGTON—Dr. Elsie L. Scott, interim president and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF), released the following statement regarding the resignation of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as chair of the Foundation’s board of directors.
“The mission of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is to advance the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public. As chair of CBCF’s board of directors, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s longstanding commitment to inspire young people to become involved in their communities and government, coupled with her outstanding leadership and vision, helped the Foundation fulfil its mission.
We are grateful for Rep. Jackson Lee’s unswerving commitment to the Foundation, and her efforts to help shape and elevate our programming for the last two years as chair, and a number of years as a board member.
The congresswoman values the Foundation’s ideals and does not want to be a distraction during the legal proceedings of the suit filed against the CBCF.
While the board selects an interim chair, CBCF will continue to facilitate academic, leadership and professional development opportunities for emerging black leaders.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee kneels on House floor in solidarity with black athletes

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) kneeled on the House floor Monday night to show solidarity with NFL players defying President Trump to protest police brutality.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Black Caucus Dems take to Senate to protest Sessions

Congressional Black Caucus members led a group of House Democrats to the Senate floor Wednesday in protest of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Sen. Sessions may be one of the most incompatible nominees to the Department of Justice that we’ve seen in decades — that department is a department of the vulnerable,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said after exiting the Senate floor.
"It is a department that deals with the issues of civil rights mostly; it deals with the issue of voting rights and the empowerment of women,” the CBC member continued.
“It deals with the issues of protecting those on the question of marriage equality, gender discrimination — and no record has been more potent against all of those issues.”
Democratic Reps. Lacy Clay (Mo.), Hank Johnson (Ga.) and John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), Rosa DeLauro.

Read more:Black Caucus Dems take to Senate to protest Sessions


Friday, September 16, 2016

Congressional Black Caucus Slams Trump's 'Birther' Response

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC were less than happy with Donald Trump's admission that Pres. Obama was indeed born a United States citizen. After 5 years of questioning the legitimacy of the nation's first black president, Trump took about 30 seconds addressing the issue. CBC members such as Hakeem Jefferies and Sheila Jackson-Lee took a lot longer in their fiery responses such as the . Watch the CBC members respond below.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Cory Booker Introduces Legislation to Give Formerly Incarcerated a Fair Chance

Washington, DC –  Today, Members of Congress led by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) in the Senate and Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) and Darrell Issa (R-CA), in the House of Representatives,introduced the Fair Chance Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would give formerly incarcerated people a fairer chance at securing employment by prohibiting federal contractors and federal agencies from asking about the criminal history of a job applicant until an applicant receives a conditional offer of employment. Sen. Booker and Rep. Cummings were joined by U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Joni Ernst (R-IA), along with Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), John Conyers (D-MI), and Bobby Scott (D-VA).
Nationwide, states and cities have been implementing “Ban the Box” polices to help people with records overcome the barrier to employment of having to “check the box” about a past felony conviction on a job application. Eighteen states and over 100 cities and counties have taken action, giving formerly incarcerated people a fairer chance to secure employment. Additionally, companies such as Walmart, Koch Industries, Target, Home Depot, and Bed, Bath & Beyond have embraced these “Ban the Box” policies to more fairly assess job applicants.
“Empowering people with records to become productive members of society instead of repeat offenders is not only fiscally sound, it’s the morally responsible thing to do,” said Sen. Booker. “There are millions of Americans with records who are quickly passed over by employers without considering their skills or qualifications because of their history. Sadly, this approach only increases the likelihood of recidivism at great cost to taxpayers and communities in New Jersey and across the country. The Fair Chance Act seeks to dismantle this unfair barrier in federal hiring to ensure these Americans are given a second chance and a fairer shot at making a better life for themselves.”
“This commonsense legislation will give those leaving the criminal justice system a fair chance to turn their lives around, and to contribute to our economy in a meaningful way,” said Rep. Cummings. “It is high time for us to build upon state and local policies like those in Maryland and Baltimore. This bill will help us reduce recidivism, break the cycles of crime we see all too often, and make our communities safer in the process.”
“Over the last several months, I have had the opportunity to meet with former incarcerated offenders back in Wisconsin,” said Sen. Johnson. “What has struck me most is how challenging we make it for those who truly want to turn their lives around. I want to help make their transition easier. If someone getting out of prison wants to work, wants to be a productive member of society, we should do everything we can to facilitate that. The dignity of work is probably the best way we can keep people from turning back to a life of crime. I’m pleased to work with Senator Booker and Representative Cummings to provide federal leadership on giving people a second chance.”
“About nine percent of Americans – roughly 20 million people — have a felony conviction in the United States,” said Rep. Issa. “Unfortunately, current practice ensures that the 18-year-old who makes a mistake will not only pay for his crime through the justice system, but will continue to be punished for the rest of his life, as he or she is disqualified out-of-hand from consideration for federal employment opportunities, even when qualified for the position. The message we inadvertently end up sending is that those who commit a crime will never be given a second chance.”
“Fair hiring practices help ensure that people who have served their time can reenter the workforce without continuing to be punished for their past mistakes,” said Sen. Brown.  “All Americans deserve the chance to earn a living and make a positive contribution to their communities. These reforms would ensure that they have that chance and help to restore hope and opportunity to those who have served their time and paid their dues to society.”
“Those who have made mistakes and paid their debt to society deserve a chance to move forward and live a productive life,” said Sen. Baldwin. “Yet, far too often, the more than 70 million Americans who have criminal histories face unreasonable employment barriers that stand in the way of contributing to our workforce. This bipartisan effort will help ensure that every American has a fair chance to secure a steady job, support their family and strengthen our communities.”
“We are a nation of opportunity and the Fair Chance Act provides a second chance for Americans with a record who have served their time to pursue employment with the federal government or contractors based on personal merit and qualifications,” said Sen. Ernst. “This bipartisan legislation works to prevent recidivism and encourages reintegration within our communities across the country while also maintaining safeguards for employers and proactively working to protect taxpayer dollars.”
“One of the most difficult parts of coming into the criminal justice system is the journey of coming out of it,” said Rep. Jackson Lee. “For an individual who has paid their debt, the process of re-entering society is paved with tremendous, and often unsurmountable, obstacles. Despite serving time behind bars, formerly incarcerated individuals and those with criminal records continue to face a lengthy and often lifetime sentence upon returning to their communities.  In a nation where one third of our adult population has a criminal record, we must acknowledge and confront the damaging and crippling effects of mass incarceration.  This legislation will not prevent the inquiry all together—employers can ask later in the hiring process—but it will allow candidates to get a foot in the door.”
“With the largest prison population in the world, we must find ways to restore the lives of individuals, their families, and their communities. If someone has served their sentence and attempts a new start in life, they should be given a fair chance to make a positive contribution to their community. The federal government should lead by example. This legislation removes unfair federal hiring barriers for previously incarcerated individuals to help put a stop to the cycle of recidivism,” said Rep. Blumenauer.
“I have dedicated much of my work in public service to reentry issues, and it’s a subject that hits especially close to home having watched members of my family return from incarceration,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “We can’t expect individuals who have served their time and paid their debts to society to successfully transition back into their communities if their job applications are thrown out before they get the chance to prove their skills. The increased public attention of the past few months has forced us to begin the important work of reforming our criminal justice system ― but that work won’t be complete without changing the way we look at formerly incarcerated individuals once they return to society. This legislation is a vital step, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in supporting it.”
“The most effective way to keep people out of jail is to provide them with a job,” said Rep. Richmond. “Ex-offenders must have the opportunity to make a living and provide for their families legally or they will revert to the same destructive behaviors that led them to prison in the first place. The Fair Chance Act removes the unnecessary barriers for otherwise qualified individuals to find employment and sets the right example for employers throughout the country.”
“Banning the box is the right thing to do for those fighting for a fair opportunity to show their qualifications.  By allowing rehabilitated individuals to provide for themselves and their families, we are helping the national economy, reducing the strain on our justice system, and ensuring that no person’s talents and contributions go to waste,” said Rep Conyers.
“Excessive punishment, bias in the criminal justice system, and poor rehabilitative services leaves our society with huge costs. The fact is, about 1 in 100 adults in this country is in prison – more than any country on this planet,” said Rep. Scott. “A criminal record should not be a blanket denial of an opportunity, but should be considered with regard to the nature of the job, and only at the point where the applicant reaches the conditional offer stage. This bill is a step in the right direction to further policies across the nation, including in my home State of Virginia, to help formerly incarcerated people gain employment and re-enter society.”
Currently, federal law does not prevent federal employers from asking a formerly incarcerated person about their past crimes at any stage of a job interview. The Fair Chance Act would bring the “Ban the Box” initiative to the federal hiring process and would prohibit federal employers and federal contractors from inquiring about criminal history information of a candidate until he or she is given a conditional offer of employment.
Exceptions are made for positions related to law enforcement and national security duties, positions that require access to classified information, or when disclosure before the conditional offer stage is required by law.
The Fair Chance Act would:

  • Ban the federal government—including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches—from requesting criminal history information from applicants until they reach the conditional offer stage;

  • Prohibit federal contractors from requesting criminal history information from candidates for positions within the scope of federal contracts until the conditional offer stage;

  • Include important exceptions for positions related to law enforcement and national security duties, positions requiring access to classified information, and positions for which access to criminal history information before the conditional offer stage is required by law; and

  • Require the Department of Labor, U.S. Census Bureau, and Bureau of Justice Statistics to issue a report on the employment statistics of formerly incarcerated individuals.

Over 70 million Americans who have criminal histories are faced with the daunting task of securing employment. They face improbable odds in obtaining a job as a result of an arrest or criminal conviction. Studies show that a criminal record reduces the likelihood of a callback or job offer by nearly 50 percent for men in general.  African-American men with criminal records have been 60 percent less likely to receive a callback or job offer than those without records. For individuals trying to turn the page on a difficult chapter in their lives, a criminal conviction poses a substantial barrier to employment.
 In May, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), led a bipartisan group of 25 of their Senate colleagues in urging President Obama to expand job opportunities and reduce recidivism by taking executive action and requiring federal contractors and federal agencies to “ban the box” on job applications. The letter can be viewedhere.  Also in May, Reps. Cummings, Jackson Lee, Blumenauer, Watson Coleman, Richmond, Conyers, and Scottsigned a similar letter to the President that included signatures from over 70 House Members.  That letter can be viewed here.
 The Fair Chance Act is supported by the Center for Urban FamiliesBend the Arc Jewish Action, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), theLeadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Employment Law Project, and the National Black Prosecutors Association.