U.S. City Approves ‘Reparations,’ Apologizes For Role In Slavery

The City Council in Asheville, N.C., has apologized for its role in slavery and voted unanimously to provide reparations to black residents in the city.

The reparations will not give black residents direct cash payments, but instead will offer investments in housing, health care and career growth in black neighborhoods. The resolution calls on the city to create a Community Reparations Commission to make concrete recommendations of where to funnel programs and resources, Fox News reported.

“The resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice,” the resolution reads.

Councilwoman Shaneika Smith, who is black, said the council received emails from those “asking, ‘Why should we pay for what happened during slavery?'”

“[Slavery] is this institution that serves as the starting point for the building of the strong economic floor for white America, while attempting to keep Blacks subordinate forever to its progress,” said Smith, as reported by the Asheville Citizen Times.

“Hundreds of years of black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young, who is black and led the move for the proposal. “It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature.”

Meanwhile, Stacey Abrams, former Democratic leader of the Georgia House and being considered by Joe Biden as a 2020 vice presidential candidate, said on Wednesday that the American public has been “ignoring the conversation” about reparations and “avoiding the obligations of our nation” for too long.

Democrats in the  House and Senate have introduced bills to create a reparations commission to “examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies” to the federal government.

“I think that’s the point of the commission because we have spent more than 200 years ignoring the conversation; 150 years of avoiding the obligations of our nation and we know that despite the end of Jim Crow in 1965, that its remnants precluded access to economic and educational advancement for African-Americans for years,” Abrams said on a conference call organized by the Georgia Democratic Party, ahead of President Trump visit to Atlanta on Wednesday.

“The beginning of any legitimate conversation is a study,” she said. “It is to understand not only the impacts but the consequences and that is what this commission will do. I strongly support the commission. I strongly support a real investigation that also includes a public conversation about the systemic racism and systemic inequities faced by blacks in the United States of America.”



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