New York State has created a commission to study potential reparations for state residents of African descent. This would make New York the second state to look into reparations after California.
This week, New York created a commission to study what potential reparations they could provide to residents of African descent, according to reports from Politico. This makes New York the second state to study reparations after California.
The commission will spend the next two years examining New York’s history of slavery and discrimination that it will then use to make official recommendations on “both statutory changes and potential payments to combat generational wealth inequality,” according to Bill Mahoney for Politico.
Governor Kathy Hochul stated “in New York, we like to think we’re on the right side of this – slavery was a product of the South, the Confederacy,” while signing the new bill in Manhattan this week.
“What is hard to embrace is that our state also flourished from slavery. It’s not a beautiful story, but it’s the truth.”
At the bill signing, Hochul and Black leaders in the state Legislature including Reverend Al Sharpton were present. They discussed the measure as a successful step towards rectifying generations of wrongdoing caused by slavery. This includes housing and job discrimination for Black Americans.
Additionally, it’s reported that the new panel will look beyond just financial reparations to address racial and structural inequalities that exist within the state.
“Some of the media will act like [Hochul] met us here and she gave Rev. Al and all of us a check for a billion dollars. But that’s not what this does. This is the beginning of healing the scars,” Sharpton said.
The commission itself is tasked only with making recommendations after their two years of research, anything they propose will then need to be passed as a bill by the governor and legislation.
“There’s a part of me that worries about leaping into this conversation because of the racial division and strife it could sow. People will say what does this have to do with us in 2023?” Hochul said.
“Anybody that thinks that racism and hatred for Blacks no longer exists, tell that to the families of the 10 victims at the grocery store in the massacre in Buffalo, who once again will be staring at empty chairs at their Christmas dinner.”
As previously mentioned, New York is the second state to establish a commission for reparations for Black Americans. California’s commission completed their research earlier this year, recommending payments up to $1.2 million per eligible resident over time.
“Anybody that thinks that racism and hatred for Blacks no longer exists, tell that to the families of the 10 victims at the grocery store in the massacre in Buffalo, who once again will be staring at empty chairs at their Christmas dinner,” Hochul stated.
“It took a courageous young white woman from Western New York to say I’m going to do what all the urban men before me wouldn’t,” Sharpton said.
Carl Heastie, assembly speaker and the first Black man to have a top role in New York’s Legislature, stated that the bill is likely “not going to be popular,” but it’s an important and necessary committee.
“This is one of those moments where you put what was right over what may have been perceived as the political thing to do.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.