By Tadi Abedje
The announcement comes at a time when the intuitions and communities across America are looking to make amends for over 400 years of slavery, discrimination and the past wrongs during its current racial reckoning. Recently, a plan was proposed by town finance officials that would put $210,000 in the reparations account when free cash is approved of.
Michele Miller, who was one of the co-founders of the Reparations for Amherst, said to the Daily Hampshire Gazette that the reparations fund is a starting point for equity. According to the Reparation for Amherst website, the grassroots organization is “specifically focused on reparations for slavery and post-slavery anti-Black racism in Amherst.”
Miller and other reparation supporters point to housing policies to have restricted Black families from purchasing homes in certain areas. Additionally, the average income of Amherst’s white families is two times larger than its Black families.
Earlier this year, Evanston, Illinois became the first American city to approve of reparations for Black residents. According to ABC News, “the program uses marijuana tax revenues to give eligible Black residents $25,000 housing grants for down payments, repairs or existing mortgages.”
The council approved of creating the African Heritage Reparations Assembly to create the city’s reparations plan no later than October 31st.
Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman believes that having the reparations fund approved will allow the city to accept contributions into the fund.