Detroit's first ever Reparations Task Force introduced

A Detroit Reparations Task Force is taking a look at the injustice of the past to create a better future. City Council President Mary Sheffield introduced the city's new, first-ever 13-member body on Friday.

"The enslavement and overall persecution of Black people has enriched our country and created disparities in income, wealth and education," she said.

Across the country the debate over if reparations are warranted and if so, how to implement them, is underway. The city's new Task Force is a result of a ballot initiative that was passed by Detroit residents during the November 2021 election.

"More than 80 percent of Detroiters turned out and supported the creation of a task force focused on housing and economic development programs," Sheffield said.

Some believe the destruction of thriving Black communities like Black Bottom to make way for a highway, is a clear reason why reparations are justified and not a hand-out.

"The case for reparations can be made on economic social and moral grounds," Sheffield added.

The co-chairs of the task force - Lauren Hood and Keith Williams, were present at Friday’s press conference.

"And the question that I hope that we will answer is what might be possible now," said Hood.

"And I’m saying timeout, timeout for this: We have a chance to make Detroit work for us," said Williams.

The task force meetings will be open to the public and residents can make their voices heard, so task force members can come up with proposals.

"It would go through the normal process of proposing to the council, we will evaluate," Sheffield said. "Of course, there has to be some sort of budget amendment to fund what that proposal is, but we’re going to be looking at everything we can that comes out of the task force."