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Marianne Williamson talks reparations, "atonement" at NAACP convention

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williams says the country needs to atone for slavery and racist oppression, and she’s the person who could bring that about.

Williamson spoke at the NAACP’s national convention in Detroit Tuesday, telling the audience that her years as a spiritual speaker, activist and author have given her the tools to facilitate racial healing.

“I’ve had 35 years of leading atonement exercises and racial healing circles. I understand the atonement that needs to occur, I understand what happens when it does,” Williamson said.

Williamson says providing reparations to American descendants of slaves is part of that healing process. “Reparations are powerful not only economically, but reparations are powerful morally and spiritually,” she said.

Williamson promised radical change if elected, saying she would upend a national political culture that’s currently “little more than a system of legalized bribery.”

“I am not connected to that system. I am running in order to interrupt it,” Williamson said. “We must fundamentally interrupt the economic and social patterns of this country that allow all of these dysfunctions and these evils to exist.”

Williamson also called for repealing President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, imposing a wealth tax on extremely wealthy Americans, wiping out student loan debt, abolishing private prisons, using the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, and restoring the full power of the Voting Rights Act.

The NAACP convention will host a forum for ten other presidential candidates, nine of them Democrats, as the convention wraps up on Wednesday.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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