Eleven U.S. mayors say they are committed to paying reparations for slavery, although they provide few details on how they might accomplish the task.
The group, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, announced a coalition to pursue reparations, Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE).
“Our coalition stands on the belief that cities can — and should — act as laboratories for bold ideas that can be transformative for racial and economic justice on a larger scale,” the group said on its website.
It said the 11 cities would create local commissions comprised of representatives from Black-led organizations that would determine how to implement the reparations.
Questions that would need to be decided include who would qualify for reparations, how much money would be spent and who would pay for the reparations.
The mayors said on their website that city programs would vary in “style and scope” but would “serve as high-profile demonstrations for how the country can more quickly move from conversation to actions” on the issue.
They noted that the conversation “has hardly moved beyond theory since the end of the Civil War.”
Garcetti said that “cities will never have the funds to pay for reparations on our own,” but he pledged to lead the way to reparations.
Racial inequality in America was cemented and institutionalized for generations when restitution was denied to survivors of chattel slavery and human bondage — with their descendants stripped of the uniquely American promise of self-empowerment through legally-enforced oppression, segregation, and discrimination officially sanctioned in both the public and private sectors.
“When we have the laboratories of cities show that there is much more to embrace than to fear, we know that we can inspire national action as well,” Garcetti said.
The other mayors involved in the coalition are from St. Louis, Missouri; Tullahassee, Oklahoma; Providence, Rhode Island; Austin, Texas; Durham, North Carolina; Asheville, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri, Sacramento, California, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
The formation of the coalition is coinciding with Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.
President Joe Biden signed a bill last week creating a federal holiday on Juneteenth — June 19
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