U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, the first Latino to serve as a U.S. Senator in California has come out in support of reparations for Black Americans who are descendants of slavery.
“It’s the morally right thing to do. … For me, it’s not a difficult conversation,” Sen. Alex Padilla said during an online press conference hosted by Ethnic Media Services, according to The Observer. He added giving reparations to Black Americans would help “address institutional injustices.”
Though he is the newest member of California’s congressional delegation, Sen. Padilla is an experienced politician. Before being nominated for then-outgoing Sen. Kamala Harris’ seat, Padilla served as a Los Angeles city councilman, state senator and secretary of state.
He has taken on a number of issues during his short tenure thus far, several of which are aimed at fighting inequality and racial injustice.
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“We have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Sen. Padilla said. “We should be able to negotiate and advance and infrastructure package, and immigration reform and protect the rights of voters, and work on environmental protection, and address historical injustices like this.”
During the first judicial confirmation hearing under the Biden Administration, Padilla also asked two Black women – Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and lawyer Candace Jackson-Akiwumi – what President Joe Biden’s nominations for federal judiciary seats meant to them personally.
“I’ve had an opportunity that my grandparents would not have been able to even fathom,” Jackson responded. “It is the beauty and the majesty of this country that someone who comes from a background like mine could find herself in this position.”
“I am the granddaughter of a sharecropper. Three of my four grandparents had only a fourth and sixth grade education, but I also grew up with a precept to whom much is given, much is required,” Jackson-Akiwumi added.
Padilla – who often proudly shares he is the son of hard-working Mexican immigrants – said the women’s “answers draw on this historic moment.
Members of the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) applauded Padilla for his stance on Twitter.
“Shoutout @AlexPadilla4CA. I hope the @HispanicCaucus will follow your lead,” user @iamvandal617 wrote. “I’m actually shocked. I didn’t support Padilla appointment to the Senate by Newsome but I will support him in the future if he supports ADOS in our goal of reparations,” added @lovestar_ados.