KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Reparations for millions of descendants of African people who were enslaved in the United States has been debated for centuries.
Recently, a suburb of Chicago became the first to approve reparations for Black residents. Kalamazoo County Commission Vice Chair Tami Rey headed the recently formed reparation task force to figure out what reparations could look like for the Black community in Kalamazoo.
The task force would look at discriminatory practices and the effects they’ve had on residents.
Also, they would look at how slavery helped public and private businesses that resulted in lasting disparities in Black communities.
Ben Wilson, Professor Emeritus for the African American and African Studies program at Western Michigan University, said the one thing the task force would have to considered would be who would qualify for reparations.
Exactly, how reparations would be rewarded was still up for question, but Wilson believes it should come in multiple forms.
“It would be great if was in the form of a check going right to your mortgage. I can see it the form of more financial aid for kids who want to go to historically Black colleges and universities,” said Wilson.
Wilson said it could still be years or even decades away from the majority of African Americans benefitting from reparations.
If you would like to help move the effort forward and become a member of the Kalamazoo County Reparations Task Force, email Tami Rey at firstname.lastname@example.org.