New York Legislature Approves Bill to Consider Slavery Reparations: ‘Historical’

Albany, New York — – New York State will set up a commission to consider reparations to address the deep-seated ill effects of slavery, based on a bill passed by the state legislature on Thursday.

“We want to make sure we look at slavery and its legacy,” state legislator Michael Solage said before a debate in the House. “This is the beginning of the process of healing our community. There are still generational traumas people are going through. This is just one step.”

The state legislature passed the bill after about three hours of vigorous debate on Thursday. The state Senate passed the bill hours later, and the bill will be sent to New York Governor Kathy Hochol for consideration.

New York will follow California, which became the first state to establish a Compensation Task Force in 2020. recommended a formal apology He called for state protests against the legacy of racism and discrimination policies and the creation of agencies to provide a wide range of services to black residents. It did not recommend a specific amount of compensation to be paid.

New York’s bill would create a commission to examine the extent to which the federal and state governments support slavery. It will also address the persistent economic, political, and educational disparities experienced by blacks in the state today.

According to the New York Bill, the first enslaved Africans arrived around the 1620s on the southern tip of Manhattan Island, then a Dutch settlement, and helped build New York City’s infrastructure. In 1817, the state legislature enacted an ordinance granting freedom to enslaved Africans in New York, but it took effect ten years later.

“I’m afraid we’re opening doors that were closed in New York state nearly 200 years ago,” Republican Rep. Andy Goodell said during a congressional debate on the bill. Mr. Goodell, who voted against the bill, said he supported existing efforts to create equal opportunities for all and “would like to stay on that path instead of focusing on reparations.”

In California, the Compensation Commission stated in their reportThe fact that the situation is estimated to be responsible for more than $500 billion Because of decades of over-policing, mass incarceration, and black families unable to get loans and prevented from living in certain neighborhoods. Last year, California’s state budget was $308 billion. New York reparations can also be costly.

The Commission is required to submit a report one year after its first meeting. The commission’s recommendations could include monetary compensation for blacks, but are not binding. Congress need not put the recommendations to a vote.

New York Congress Speaker Carl Heastie, the first black man to hold the office, called the bill “historic.”

Carl Heastie
New York Congress Speaker Carl Heastie speaks to reporters in Albany, New York, February 2023 (D Bronx)

AP Photo/Hans Pennink

Mr. Heastie, the governor, and the legislative leader of the state Senate were to each appoint three members to the commission.

Other state legislatures considering consideration of reparations include New Jersey and Vermont, although some states have yet to pass legislation. a suburb of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois, became the first city to allow reparations Provide assistance to black residents through a $10 million housing project in 2021.

At the federal level, a decades-old proposal to create a commission to review reparations has stalled in Congress.

Some critics of state reparations say the idea, while well-intentioned, could be misguided.

William Darity, a professor of public policy and African and African American studies at Duke University, said the state was virtually unable to meet potentially expensive payments, so reparations and He said it was “presumptuous” to even call him.

He said the federal government has the financial capacity to pay real reparations and should take responsibility.

“My deeper concern about all of these piecemeal projects is that they actually stand in the way of federal action because so many people say we don’t need a federal plan. ‘ said Darity. “If state and local governments lead us to compromise, we will be content with far less than we have to pay.” New York Legislature Approves Bill to Consider Slavery Reparations: ‘Historical’

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