Precedent set: North Carolina city approves reparations for black Americans, Rhode Island mayor looking into doing the same
The city council in Asheville, North Carolina approved paying reparations to black residents, while a mayor in Rhode Island signed an order promising to look into the act, leading many to argue this is the start of a major trend.
"Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today," Keith Young, one of black members of the Asheville City Council, said. "It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature."
The vote was 7-0 in favor of the measure.
The reparations will not be direct payments to individuals, as many proponents of the idea have suggested, but instead investments to increase black home ownership, career opportunities, and access to health care and education.
A Community Reparations Committee will be created to suggest concrete plans to the city about implementation of the plan, as well as where the funding and resources for everything will be coming from.
Meanwhile, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza signed his executive order on Wednesday, promising to create a plan for reparations, with details like whether money will go to investments like North Carolina or be in the form of direct payments. Elorza says it will be a few months before any final decisions are, including how much everything will cost and where exactly the money will come from.
While reparations were once a rather fringe issue with little mainstream support, the idea has become increasingly popular with politicians looking to win the support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Multiple Democrats have endorsed reparations and even Joe Biden, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has said he is open to the concept. The decision was hailed by politicians and pundits as a move necessary in the light of protests throughout the country.
For 400 years, our country built a racist system of profits on the backs of enslaved and incarcerated Black bodies that continues to this day. Reparations are long overdue. I hope Asheville's example is exported to cities and the rest of our country.https://t.co/Sb6Zcln8SG— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) July 15, 2020
In an extraordinary move, the Asheville City Council has apologized for the North Carolina city's historic role in slavery and voted to provide reparations to them and their descendants."It is simply not enough to remove statutes." https://t.co/5xRDgj0y5T— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) July 15, 2020
While the idea has grown more and more popular on the left, conservatives have continued to push back against it, citing practicality issues, as well as the fact that slavery ended in the US in 1863, meaning black and white people alive now are separated by generations from it.
This is ridiculous.The city of Asheville, NC just approved reparations for the black community.Why should people who NEVER owned slaves give money to people who NEVER were slaves. 🤔— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) July 15, 2020
Any black American who loves this country, loves themselves and has an OUNCE of self-respect should return any resources sent their way in defiance of this unnecessary, counterproductive gesture of pity. Despicable.— Suburban Black Man 🇺🇸 (@goodblackdude) July 15, 2020
Maybe I live in a box, but I’ve never met a single black American who was a slave or a single white American who was a slaveowner. I’ve only come across lazy people who believe that those of us who work ought to support them. Human parasites. And they come in every race.— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) July 15, 2020
What the left and the right can agree on is that the measure and executive order are “historic” moves and will no doubt have major implications going forward as other states and politicians weigh the pros and cons of the act.
This seems groundbreaking:the city council in Asheville, NC passed a resolution 7–0 approving an apology to its Black residents for the city's role in slavery, and racist and discriminatory practices past and present- and approves reparations. https://t.co/qAdsB5AVHU— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) July 15, 2020
Even the ACLU weighed in after North Carolina’s reparations decision and warned Congress to “take note.”
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