New York State Legislature June 8 voted for the creation of a special commission that will assess and compensate for the damage from slavery, as well as the search for legislative solutions to the problem of racism. It's called the New York State Community Commission on Reparations Remedies.
The document says that slavery in New York existed for 200 years - the first African slaves were brought into the state in the 1620s. The last slaves in the state were freed in 1827.
“Reparations are more than monetary compensation. This is redemption and a guarantee of non-repetition,” said Assembly Member Michelle Solages. “We need to change our political structures and laws to ensure the rights of black New Yorkers. This is an important step towards changing the long history of systemic racism and discrimination."
Before the Revolution, New York City had more enslaved Africans than any other US city except Charleston, South Carolina. At that time, slaves made up 20% of the population. New York gradually enacted laws giving freedom to slaves, but at the same time allowed non-residents to bring their enslaved Africans into the state - this was the case until 1841.
However, the abolition of slavery did not put an end to discriminatory and racist practices. Black Americans in New York have long been ineligible to vote, found it difficult to rent a home, faced police prejudice and other injustices.
New York is not the first state to consider reparations for the descendants of slaves. California accepted a very generous reparations program. And the city authorities of San Francisco were simply amazed by their generosity. Their plan includes $5 million in payments to every eligible black American adult, personal debt and tax relief, a guaranteed annual income of at least $97 a year for 000 years, and a San Francisco home for just $250 per family.