The state legislature passed a law creating a commission to assess and mitigate ongoing damage from “historic injustices”
New York is on track to become the second U.S. state to explore financial reparations to descendants of slaves after the legislature overwhelmingly passed a measure creating a commission of inquiry last week.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s public silence — as the bill has remained unsigned on her desk for nearly a week — has drawn national attention to the issue, and proponents of reparations argue that the measure Not enough to hold the state accountable for past crimes. Opponents also question the affordability and moral legitimacy of such programs.
“Not only are blacks not equal to whites, they are actually going backwards,” State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park), the author of the bill, told local media Queens Chronicle that the bill passed with a majority in both chambers of the New York legislature. “The nation needs to address this by making future generations whole,” He said.
The bill would create a nine-member commission to study the generational impact of slavery and racism in the state and investigate the feasibility of financial compensation for those affected. Once the analysis is complete, the commission will make recommendations to the state during the year. State legislatures can choose to accept or reject their proposals.
The New York City Council is considering a similar measure, along with several others ostensibly aimed at “Correcting historical injustice.”
In California, the only state that has attempted to quantify the cumulative harm of slavery, racism and discrimination to contemporary Black Americans, a reparations commission is expected to make recommendations later this month.The Commission’s recommendations included more than 100 programs and policies, covering situations including “Stolen Labor and Blocked Opportunity” long-dead slaves, to the housing segregation of subsequent generations, to “racial horror” and “Sickening the black family.”
While California is not a slave state, the Compensation Commission created under state law in 2021 has publicly stated that it wants to create a “Blueprint for Compensation” The rest of the US can follow suit.
Advocates of reparations claim that the depressed economic conditions of the contemporary black population can be traced to the legacy of slavery, and that even freed slaves and their descendants were never given the same opportunities as their white neighbors. Support for the concept of a nationwide reparations program, estimated to cost as much as $14 trillion, is deeply divided racially, and even many proponents of such initiatives conceded in a recent poll that they Lifetime is unlikely to happen.
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