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NY Creates Commission to Study Reparations


New York is creating a new commission to study reparations and racial justice.  Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday said the commission will be tasked with examining the legacy of slavery, subsequent discrimination against people of African descent, and the impact these forces continue to have in the present day.

Legislation S.1163-A/A.7691 acknowledges the significant role the institution of slavery played in the establishment and history of New York. The legislation establishes the Community Commission on Reparations Remedies, which will be composed of nine members who are specially qualified to serve by virtue of their expertise, education, training, or lived experience in the fields of African or American studies, the criminal legal system, human rights, civil rights, reparations organizations, and other relevant fields.   

Prior to the American Revolution, there were more enslaved Africans in New York City than in any other city except Charleston, South Carolina, and the population of enslaved Africans accounted for 20 percent of New York’s population, while 40 percent of colonial New York households owned enslaved Africans. This was an integral part of the development of the State of New York, and the consequences of the institution of slavery – and subsequently, discrimination and systemic racism borne of that institution – can still be observed today. 

The commission is tasked with examining the legacy of slavery and its lingering negative effects on people currently living in the State of New York, with the goal of issuing issue a report comprised of recommendations for appropriate action to address these longstanding inequities. This written report of findings and recommendations must be submitted to the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, the minority leaders of the senate and the assembly, and the Governor of the State of New York no later than one year after the date of the first meeting of the commission. 

“Today, we are continuing our efforts to right the wrongs of the past by acknowledging the painful legacy of slavery in New York,” Governor Hochul said. “We have a moral obligation to reckon with all parts of our shared history as New Yorkers, and this commission marks a critical step forward in these efforts.”

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