Football legend Burgess Owens took Congress by storm last week when he argued, during a Congressional hearing on reparations for slavery, that the Democratic Party owed “restitution” to black Americans.
Owens, who is himself the descendant of slaves, said that he did not believe in reparations because they would only divide the nation further. “It points to a certain race, a certain color, and points them as evil and points the other race, my race, as one that not only becomes racist, but also beggars,” he explained.
The former Oakland Raider spoke with the Daily Caller Monday about the concept of restitution and why he believes that it’s the Democrats who should be making amends to the black community. Democrats, Owens argued, have actively worked to “take away the foundation of what made us a competitive race.” (RELATED: Burgess Owens: Democratic Party Shoud Pay Restitution To Black Americans)
“We were the most competitive minority in the country,” Owens explained. “We led the country in many indicators. Education. Entrepreneurship. But socialist messaging destroyed all that. It destroyed the role of the father in the family, destroyed the love of mothers for their children, destroyed the foundation of what makes society grow: the family unit.”
The push to make abortions more readily available was also a direct attack on the black community, Owens argued. “The narrative of the left is based on destroying for black Americans life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Planned Parenthood is a part of that, it has targeted the black community. It was started by a racist who called us ‘weeds.'”
“Over 80% of clinics are in black communities. Cities run by Democrats are killing fields. In California, 75% couldn’t meet reading and writing standards as of 2017. [Democrats] get rid of us systematically and then come to us like they’re our saviors,” he continued.
But in addition to calling out the problem, Owens also had a solution. “We need to take ownership as parents and as community leaders,” he said. “We the people are where the power is. Our country has always been about ideas. We voice those ideas, we agree to disagree, and we come back with a better argument the next time.”
He admitted that some on the left still might not be ready to come to the table, drawing a direct line from today’s Antifa protesters to the KKK. “Now the left puts on black masks, sunglasses, they don’t want people to see their faces just like they did in the white hoods,” Owens explained. “They beat up on people because they don’t have the courage or the mentality to engage ideas. They’re all cut from the same cloth.”
The football great is still working to do his part, however, founding an organization that he says lines up perfectly with President Donald Trump’s Second Chance Act, aimed at allowing mercy a place in the American criminal justice system.
“The Second Chance Act is perfect, and so consistent with conservatism,” Owens said. “We had a black president for eight years who didn’t come close to this kind of progress. And as a Christian, I believe that life is about multiple second chances. If you make a mistake, that’s not the end of the game.”
Owens has devoted his own time and energy for the last three decades to helping youth find those second chances as well.
“My mission for the last 30 years: how do we teach the youth to find a better way?” Owens tole the Caller. “So I founded Second Chance 4 Youth to help young people coming out of the juvenile system. The left has thrown them away, they don’t have fathers. I just want to give them the opportunity to learn that the American way is all about second chances.”
Owens explained that his program was built on four core principles valued by Booker T. Washington and was designed “not to punish them but correct them, because it’s never too late to rebuild a foundation.”
Those principles, he divides into four categories, head, meaning education; heart, meaning compassion and service; hands, or industry and entrepreneurship; and home, or family.
“Anyone who has these four components has the tools to succeed,” Owens asserted. “We can’t change their history or their experience but we can change their perspective and the hope factor.”
WATCH OWENS’ CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY HERE: