Detroit’s newly formed reparations task force is planning to present plans for reparation payments to eligible Black Americans in the city as a new poll finds a majority of residents support the idea.
A survey from the University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study and the Center for Racial Justice found that 63% of Detroit residents support some form of reparation payment to “counter the lasting impacts of slavery and discriminatory policies.”
Los Angeles longtime resident Walter Foster, 80, holds up a sign as the Reparations Task Force meets to hear public input on reparations at the California Science Center in Los Angeles Sept. 22, 2022. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
About 22% of respondents said that they “neither oppose nor support” reparations, while only 13% do not support any form of reparations.
The poll, which was conducted in the summer of 2022, also suggested that 70% of residents believe addressing racial and ethnic inequality should be a high priority for elected officials.
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Rev. Tony Pierce calls for more than $5 million in reparations for each Black Californian at a meeting of the California Reparations Task Force March 29, 2023. (YouTube screenshot from California Department of Justice channel)
The survey was conducted from June 16 to Aug. 26, 2022, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
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In 2021, voters in Detroit passed Proposal R, a ballot initiative that proposed the city form a reparations task force in the city, with overwhelming support.
Following the University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study and the Center for Racial Justice’s survey, the Detroit City Council formed the task force to begin presenting plans for payments to eligible residents.
Dr. Jovan Lewis, center, listens as the California Reparations Task Force meets to hear public input on reparations at the California Science Center in Los Angeles Sept. 22, 2022. (Los Angeles Times)
Mary Scheffield, the city council president who is pushing efforts to hand out reparation payments to residents in Detroit, recently said the executive task force will “stimulate economic growth and opportunity in the area of reparations.”
“The enslavement and overall persecution of Black people has enriched our country and created disparities in income, wealth and education. Evidence of this systemic racism are still present today,” Sheffield said in a February announcement, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“I am so glad that we as a city today are now joining that local movement, paving the way to stimulate economic growth and opportunity in the area of reparations.”
The committee is expected to meet April 13.
A March and rally for reparations, child protection and advancement of people’s rights. (Michael Siluk)
San Francisco’s Reparations Committee recently proposed giving $5 million to every eligible Black resident in the city to “compensate the affected population for the decades of harms that they have experienced.” The city also recommended granting Black residents the ability to purchase a home for only $1 and an annual income of at least $97,000 for 250 years.
The California Reparations Task Force has also proposed a $640 billion program to grant each eligible Black resident $360,000, a payment that would be given to around 1.8 million Californians.
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Both proposals would cost each individual taxpayer an estimated $600,000.