NY Gov Kathy Hochul signs bill creating reparations commission despite concerns of ‘racial divisions’

New York state has established a commission to explore the best methods of providing reparations to descendants of slaves.  Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill Tuesday for a “community commission to study the history of slavery in New York state” to examine “various forms of reparations.” “Here in New York, there was a slave market where people bought and sold other human beings with callous disregard,” Hochul said. “It happened right on Wall Street for more than a century. And even though it officially closed when slavery was abolished in New York in 1827, our state still remained a dominant player in the illegal slave trade. The practice continued, and our financial and business institutions prospered.” The commission was given the task of examining the impact of slavery on Black people throughout New York state history and producing suggested remedies to its negative effects on Black communities. SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE OF REPARATIONS BUDGET GETS GUTTED BY DEMOCRATIC MAYOR AS CITY FACES DEFICIT The commission will consist of nine individuals. The governor, state assembly speaker and the majority leader of the New York Senate will each select three members. “I know the word ‘reparations’ brings up a lot of conflicting ideas for people. A lot of people instinctively dig in when they hear it without really thinking about what it means or why we need to talk about it,” said Hochul. REPARATIONS PUSH GAINS STEAM AS COMMUNITIES NATIONWIDE CONSIDER PAYMENT PLANS – AND NOT JUST FOR SLAVERY Hochul said that even Americans whose families arrived in the U.S. after the end of slavery were still responsible for addressing its impact on Black communities. “I think of the immigrants and the children of immigrants who’ve come here since the end of slavery,” said Hochul. “They will say, ‘We had no involvement in slavery […] None of our relatives were slave owners.’ And there’s part of me that worries about leaping into this conversation because of the racial divisions, strife it could sow.'” The governor continued, “These huddles and tired masses came here to seek a better life […] Slaves, people who were enslaved, didn’t come here willingly to pursue a dream, but they came in bondage to live a nightmare. And we have to ask, do those of us whose family came here to pursue a dream not have a role to play in ending a nightmare? Yes, yes we do.” Hochul’s speech was followed by a brief address from Rev. Al Sharpton, who thanked the governor for signing the bill despite warnings from her political allies. “And I know her political advisors told her it is too risky. But she did it because it’s right,” I met with her last Thursday on several issues that we’re dealing with nationally, and she told me she had decided to sign this bill and she said that it’s going to be unpopular to some, but I’m going to do what’s right.” The commission is expected to offer its initial report approximately one year after its creation.
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