Author Marianne Williamson earned applause and cheers when she mounted a defense of her plan to offer $200 billion to $500 billion in reparations to the descendants of enslaved Africans in this country – one of several instances of the spiritual teacher drawing audience support tonight.
“We need to recognize when it comes to the economic gap between black and whites in America, it does come from a great injustice that has never been dealt with,” said Williamson, the only candidate on the stage to offer a specific financial proposal on reparations.
The other candidates support a bill to study the issue.
Asked why she was qualified to determine the amount of financial assistance, Williamson said she did the math. Had freed slaves been granted a promised 40 acres and a mule after the Civil War, that would be worth “trillions” to their descendants today, she said.
She called $200 billion to $500 billion “politically feasible.”
“Many Americans realize,” she said, “there is an injustice that continues to form a toxicity underneath the surface.”
She said the money is not financial assistance — it's "a debt that is owed."
Watch the moment:
"It is time for us to simply realize that this country will not heal. All that a country is a collection of people. People heal when there's deep truth telling. We need to recognize when it comes to the economic gap between blacks and whites in America, it does come from a great injustice that has never been dealt with. That great injustice has had to do with the fact that there was 250 years of slavery, followed by another 100 years of domestic terrorism."