Members of the New Jersey Black Caucus Legislature have for years sought to gain the support of a task force that would consider both the economic legacy of slavery and the possibility of reparations.
On Wednesday, the Newark City Council voted by a majority to support the effort.
Support from the state’s largest city – a city with a large black population – signals a movement in the fight for reparations. And while the adoption of the Newark resolution can be seen as a simple gesture of support, it shows the spirit of the city government.
Newark has experimented with several measures to promote socioeconomic justice for its residents, such as last year’s pilot income guarantee program, a concept that some civil rights activists, such as Martin Luther King Jr., have said would help address the financial implications of the system. racism.
The decision to support the deputies in their efforts was approved by the deputies, and all but one voted in favor.
A review of the history of NJ
Reparations Bill (A-938 / C-386) create a committee of interdisciplinary experts to review the history of slavery in the state and recommend socioeconomic investments for the black descendants of enslaved Africans and African Americans. First introduced in 2019, it never passed and was re-introduced for the third time in January. It has not yet passed through the Senate and the Assembly.
If created, the task force would go beyond Gov. Phil Murphy’s task force on wealth disparities, focusing on slavery as a major factor in inequality for black communities and specifically reducing its influence through reparations.
Newark Mayor Ras Barak expressed his support for the task force bill during a council meeting, stressing that the state is in slavery. Barack pointed to the fact that Bergen County is one of the largest slave-owning counties in New Jersey and that the state was the last district in the north where slavery was abolished.
He concluded his statement by establishing a link between slavery and its disproportionate impact on black communities.
“(It) made it difficult to own and buy property, voting and other things,” Barak said. “Therefore, it is important for us to push this reparations task force at the national level.”
Member of the Special Commission Carlos Gonzalez, who called the task force a “step in the right direction”, discussed how restrictive agreements have blocked black and brown communities from buying property in some areas. And it wasn’t until November 2021 that New Jersey passed a law lifting restrictive agreements from action – but that measure applies only to documents recorded on or after 1 January 2022.
Council Chairman Louis Quinton asked the city clerk to send a resolution in support of the reparations task force to the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to demonstrate that reparations and the impact of slavery are a nationwide problem, not just New Jersey.