Durham, NC’s ‘Racial Equity Task Force’ Urges Creation of Reparations Fund

Logo of the minor league Durham Bulls baseball team in Durham, North Carolina.
Brian Crawford/Flickr

A “racial equity” task force commissioned by the city of Durham, North Carolina, issued a report Thursday recommending the creation of a reparations fund to address “systemic racism.”

The News Observer reports:

In its first official report since forming 21 months ago, the racial equity task force urged city leaders to establish a reparations program and a fund to “address the city’s growing racial wealth gap.”

The group wants Durham to “take an active role in helping push forward national policies aimed at ending the racial wealth gap, including a national reparations program, guaranteed basic income, and raising the minimum wage.”

The task force was presenting its report and the City Council had not yet responded by the deadline for Friday’s print edition of The Herald-Sun.

The task force wants the city to create a wealth equity fund to pull from for reparation efforts.

As white people, we live in a permanent state of unpaid debt to our black sisters and brothers, to indigenous people and to all others exploited by the economy that we built on stolen land on the backs of enslaved people,” stated criminal justice attorney and task force member Emily Coward. 

“We have leading scholars on reparations and the racial wealth gap right here in Durham, who the city and county should be consulting with in launching such a fund,” she added. “We recognize that regressive state laws limits some of the options for such a fund, but Durham is not powerless.”

Further, Coward called on Duke University and wealthy individuals to pony up money for the proposed reparations fund. 

The report’s publication comes after Asheville, NC, City Council voted 7-0 to approve reparations for black residents. The resolution will not result in direct payments to individuals but will mandate investments in poorer black communities.

“Hundreds of years of black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today,” Keith Young, a black member of the council, said of the vote. “It is simply not enough to remove statues. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature.”

Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats continue to push Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D-TX) Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The bill is part of the “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force” platform.

Last Thursday, Senate Democrats proposed a $350 billion measure aimed at “address[ing] systemic racism and historic underinvestment in communities of color” through the Economic Justice Act.


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