St. Louis Mayor Appoints Nine Residents To City’s First Reparations Commission
In December 2022, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones signed an executive order to create a reparations commission. Jones has now assigned nine residents to the commission.
According to St. Louis Today, the mayor’s office said in a statement, “The volunteer commission will analyze the history of race-based harms in the city and reveal the modern manifestations of injustice. Ultimately, the commission will offer recommendations for methods to develop and implement reparations for Black St. Louisans and the descendants of enslaved peoples.”
St. Louis Today reports the nine members are:
• Will Ross, associate dean for diversity at Washington University School of Medicine and professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology.
• Delesha N. George, program manager at Deaconess Foundation.
• Kayla Reed, co-founder and executive director of Action St. Louis.
• William Foster, external audit generalist at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
• Gwen Moore, curator of Urban Landscape and Community Identity at the Missouri Historical Society.
• Kevin Anthony, bridge pastor at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ.
• David Cunningham, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at Washington University.
• Jada Brooks, student at Harris-Stowe University.
• Kimberly Hicks Franks, attorney, activist and board member of Dutchtown South Community Corp. The Missouri Bar Association lists her as an inactive member of the bar.
Commission members will “assess the history of slavery, segregation and other race-based harms in the City of St. Louis; explore the present-day manifestations of that history; and, ultimately, recommend a proposal to begin repairing the harms that have been inflicted," the executive order stated back in December, according to KSDK. The first meeting will take place next month.
Mayor Jones is a member of the Mayors Organizing for Reparations and Equity (MORE) Coalition. The list of coalition members include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the organization’s founder and co-chair, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a co-chair, and Durham, N.C. Mayor Elaine O’Neal. MORE defines reparations 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.”
A model for reparations exists for St. Louis and other municipalities. Evanston, Ill., a Chicago suburb, in 2021 became the first city to make reparations available to Black residents. At the state level, California lawmakers have advanced their efforts toward reparations for Black residents. A nine-member Reparations Task Force was created through legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020. However, the task force has yet to release any suggestions on how to implement reparations, despite writing a 500 page report.