The woke Board of Commissioners for Shelby County in Tennessee, which also includes Memphis, voted to approve $5 million to launch a feasibility study to examine reparations for the descendants of slaves as a number of members cited the death of Tyre Nichols as a reason for it.
(Video Credit: NBC News)
The feasibility study aims to determine whether the county should “establish, develop, and implement reparations.”
The commission has 13 members. The eight black members all voted in favor of the study. The five white members all voted against it or abstained, according to the Daily Mail.
The study is the latest in a string of reparation initiatives being pushed across the country. It follows the killing of a black man named Tyre Nichols by five black police officers in Memphis in January. Unbelievably, the commissioners in favor of reparations cited Nichols’ death as part of their reasoning for the study.
Commissioner Miska Clay Bibbs was one of those referring to Nichols’ beating death in her argument for the study, “My people are dying on the daily. That’s why I support this.”
“It’s clear something has to be done. That’s all this resolution is trying to do is saying we have to address what’s happening in Shelby County in a different way,” Bibbs proclaimed, according to the Commercial Appeal.
Those who voted against the measure cited financial concerns over the move as well as legal issues and the potential for it to prove divisive in the community.
“I just don’t think this is the best way to move the community forward in a unified manner, and that is my reasoning, as well as the financial piece,” Commissioner Brandon Morrison argued.
“We don’t have $5 million available to us — we were actually in the negative in November,” Commissioner Mick Wright pointed out, according to NBC News.
Commission Chair Mickell Lowrey told his colleagues before a vote was taken, “Commissioners, it’s ok to disagree. We all represent different communities, and we’re supposed to disagree, our constituents don’t all have the same issues or concerns.”
“Our diversity makes us better, so I appreciate all the comments and respect all of them,” he stated.
Shelby County’s population is approximately 52% black, 41% white, 6% Hispanic, and 2% Asian, according to county government data.
The resolution was passed on Wednesday. It orders the feasibility study to examine five separate areas that include access to affordable housing and homeownership, affordable healthcare, systemic disenfranchisement in the criminal justice system, career opportunities, and financial literacy/generational wealth.
The definition of “reparations” that the resolution cites is from the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, which defines it as, “A process of repairing, healing, and restoring a people injured because of their group identity and in violation of their fundamental human rights by governments, corporations, institutions, and families.”
Other cities that are moving forward on the issue of slavery reparations include Boston, Massachusetts; St. Paul, Minnesota; and St Louis, Missouri. Also included and at the forefront of the fight for reparations are California cities including San Francisco and Los Angeles. They have set up task forces and panels to launch reparations plans.
California’s Reparations Task Force has presented a bill for $569 billion for reparations while cities like San Francisco have a reparation board demanding $5 million per eligible black resident.
— Mike Netter (@nettermike) February 23, 2023
California has until July 1 to issue a final report on recommendations for how to administer and fund reparations in the state.
All the cities and counties looking to implement slavery reparations face the same problems of determining who should get the funds and how they will be paid for.
San Francisco has proposed a one-time lump sum payment of $5 million to each eligible black person, and debt forgiveness, to correct decades of “systematic oppression” there. But it has not been determined how the city would pay for it.
The city of Evanston in Illinois has also been addressing what it contends are racist housing policies. Its grants have paid off a few mortgages, but it is also extremely divisive.
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