Detroit City Council officially passed a resolution in an effort to support reparations for African Americans in the city, whose population is 78 percent Black.
According to the Detroit Free Press, President Pro Tem Marry Sheffield’s resolution passed on Tuesday (June 15) without objection. It aims to create a foundation to form a city task force or commission to design what reparations may look like for Detroit residents and how to make it happen.
Sheffield said there are numerous community-led initiatives for reparations.
"You have Proposal P. Then you have the petition-led initiative, which is trying to put the question on the ballot,” Sheffield said, according to the newspaper. “The ideas we’re kind of waiting to see is what happens with those so we’re not duplicating something that may be placed on the ballot. Today was important because it also shows council’s support for the idea of reparations and supporting a process to explore it moving forward.”
The resolution also states that African Americans have been unjustly enslaved, incarcerated, denied housing in public and private markets, segregated denied mortgages, and more.
Attorney Todd Perkins is submitting a ballot initiative for the November election that seeks to amend a portion of the city charter that “restricts power from the voters to enact city ordinances for the appropriation of money." This, according to Perkins, will sequester funds from marijuana revenue sales to be put in a reparations fund or committee.
“They would then decide how these monies would be spent and for what purpose,” Perkins said to the Free Press, adding he’s received nearly 4,000 signatures. “It creates a sense of understanding and acknowledgment that ‘OK, you were actually wronged.’ There’s an acknowledgment that something went wrong.”
Below are the highlights the city plans to address in the resolution:
• Right to water and sanitation
• Right to environmental health
• Right to safety
• Right to live free from discrimination, including people with disability, immigrants, LGBTQ, and others
• Right to recreation
• Right to access and mobility
• Right to housing
• Right to the fulfillment of basic needs
Additionally, the reparations initiative calls for Detroit City Council to establish a process to develop short-and-long-term recommendation to boost opportunities within the African American community and address the creation of generation wealth.
"There's a lot of systemic issues that African Americans face and this is a predominately Black city," Sheffield said. "I think it's important that we acknowledge it and we at least begin to have conversations on how to address the issue of reparations."