St. Paul Embarks on Reparations Initiative

Eleven mayors from across the country – including Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter – have launched an initiative pledging reparations for American descendants of slavery. The coalition is pushing for federal reparations legislation, while also committing to setting examples at the local level. 

Feven Gerezgiher reports:

 

Eleven mayors from across the country – including Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter – have launched an initiative pledging reparations for American descendants of slavery.

 

“It’s how we finally bring some resolution to the fact that our country, for hundreds of years, legally practiced the practice of kidnapping and slaving African captives here on this soil, and that every single aspect of our American economy is built on that legacy,” said Carter.

 

The coalition, called Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity, is pushing for federal reparations legislation, while also committing to setting examples at the local level.

 

Trahern Crews is on St Paul’s advisory committee. He said local initiatives are key, since city governments have participated in creating racial disparities in homeownership, employment, education, and healthcare:

 

“If they got money to build stadiums with taxpayer money, then they got money to pay the descendants of slavery who they have harmed since the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County has been a political entity,” said Crews. “But reparations also isn’t just cash payment. It’s also looking at land. It’s also looking at housing. It’s also looking at business development.”

 

Crews pointed to city control over the police department, which he said is the deadliest in Minnesota per capita.

 

“Another part of reparations is cessation or stopping the wrong from happening,” said Crews. “So St. Paul needs to stop police brutality, Saint Paul needs to stop housing discrimination.”

 

In January, the City of Saint Paul apologized for its role in institutional racism, and committed to making amends. 

 

The reparations advisory committee will convene for a year starting in July. In addition to making recommendations to the city government, its work includes educating and learning from residents about reparations possibilities.

Photo Credit: Phil Ward

 

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