Providence Mayor Launches Reparations Process


Rhode Island’s capital city is looking at providing reparations to residents of African and Native American heritage, Providence Mayor Jorge Elzorza announced Wednesday.

The Democratic mayor signed an executive order creating a “Truth-Telling, Reconciliation and Municipal Reparations Process” that would examine the feasibility of providing reparations, which are typically direct cash payments to individuals.

Elorza said it’s the first step in accepting the city’s role in the country’s fraught racial history, including Black slavery and mistreatment of Native Americans.

“We’re putting a marker on the ground and committing to elevating this conversation and using the levers at our disposal to correct the wrongs of the past,” he said.

Eloza said two other cities in the country have taken similar steps to provide reparations, but haven’t gone as far as what he is pushing Providence to do.

Evanston, Illinois, created a reparations fund last year that draws from tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales. Officials in nearby Chicago have also been debating the issue, and countries including South Africa and Canada and colleges including Georgetown University have some form of reparations initiatives.

Elorza said Providence’s monthslong effort will include accurately telling the history of slavery, Jim Crow segregation and structural racism in Providence. It will also involve recognizing that in some … (Read more)

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