Skip to main content

St. Paul joins handful of cities moving towards reparations for descendants of slaves

A resolution apologizes for the area's role in slavery and systemic racism and greenlights a commission to study reparations for descendants of slaves in St. Paul
Screenshot of the Jan. 13 St. Paul City Council meeting

Screenshot of the Jan. 13 St. Paul City Council meeting

St. Paul has joined a handful of cities taking steps towards issuing reparations for descendants of slaves. 

The City Council passed a resolution earlier this month to form a commission within the next six months to study how the process of issuing reparations might work.

The resolution also outlined and apologized for the City Council's "participation in and sanctioning of institutional racism," citing the illegal holding of slaves at Fort Snelling and the construction of I-94 through the predominantly black Rondo neighborhood, as well as redlining, racial covenants, inequitable access to housing and environmental injustice.

The resolution was sponsored by Council Member Jane Prince, with steering committee co-chairs Georgia Fort, an independent journalist, and former mayoral candidate Trahern Crews, who co-chairs the national Green Party and leads its reparations group. 

"Considering what happened at the Capitol last week, I think the city council is taking a bold leadership step with voting on this resolution today," Crews said. 

The document was signed by all seven members, which Prince called "momentous." 

"Most resolutions do not come through our council with seven authors. That just shows the background work that’s been put into this, the momentum that’s behind it," said Council President Amy Brendmoen."I think this can't wait."  

The St. Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission will issue a report "which will focus on but not be limited to strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in home ownership, health care, education, employment and pay, and fairness within criminal justice among the American descendants of chattel slavery," the resolution reads. 

"The reality of it is, we cannot show up at the table anywhere and talk about equity without economic justice," Fort said, adding that Minnesota consistently ranks highest in the country for racial disparities. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The resolution, which also urges the state and federal governments to initiate policymaking for reparations, makes St. Paul one of a handful of cities that have launched reparations commissions, including Asheville, N.C., and Evanston, Ill, which funds its reparations through tax revenue from recreational cannabis sales. 

In November, the Minnesota Council of Churches launched a 10-year "Truth and Reparations" initiative to explore reparations and promote racial healing. 

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee introduced a bill that would establish a commission to study reparations on the national level. 

"I know this is a long road ahead, but it’s the right thing to do. And when it’s the right thing to do, it’s the easy thing to do,” Council Member Dai Thao said. 

“There’s no amount of money that would ever replace the tragedy, the trauma, over the hundreds of years that the African American community has experienced … This work is so important and we have to continue to recognize that, to tell this story, and fight and try to make things right. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

2020 pawn shop arson with fatality nets 10-year prison sentence for MN man

The incident, which took place during riots in May 2020,  resulted in one man's death.

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Election officials dismiss conservative group's complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar

The group alleged that she used campaign funds on her future husband's consulting firm.

Screen Shot 2022-01-15 at 9.53.04 AM

Reports: 6 names surface in Vikings' search for new head coach

Six names have surfaced Saturday in the Minnesota Vikings' hunt for a new head coach.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Minnetonka approves mask mandate in emergency ordinance

The mandate officially goes into effect Monday night.

snow, measuring snow, snow totals

Here are the snow totals from Friday's winter storm in Minnesota

There was a sharp gradient around the Twin Cities, with the highest amounts in southwestern Minnesota.

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello scores twice, Wild win third straight

A team effort helped Minnesota dispatch the Ducks.

Rep. Tou Xiong

State lawmaker Tou Xiong apologizes after driving under the influence

The state representative was pulled over on the night of Jan. 8.

St Lukes Duluth GSV Pro

Duluth hospital requiring visitors to show vax proof, neg. test

The health care system is also tightening visitor guidelines.

ridgeview urgent care facebook

Ridgeview halting urgent care at a Twin Cities site 'until further notice'

The organization cited "growing emergency medical needs" at the facility.

polley freeborn county jail roster jan 2022 resize

Charges: MN high school counselor sexually assaulted student

The 16-year-old victim had regularly gone to him for academic help and other support, authorities say.

Proctor football

Proctor investigation: Senior charged with sexually assaulting teammate

The criminal charges come after a monthslong review of the allegations.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 9.07.41 PM

Ordway will require vaccinated audience members also be boosted

If someone has not gotten a booster shot, they will have to show a negative COVID test.

Related

key-3348307_1280

Here's what the new St. Paul housing ordinance means for renters and landlords

The St. Paul City Council has approved an ordinance stipulating several protections for tenants

Melvin Carter

St. Paul now looking into alternatives to armed police on certain 911 calls

The commission will explore alternative ways to respond to non-violent situations

Screen Shot 2020-06-08 at 12.00.36 PM

ATF now offering $5,000 reward to ID suspect in St. Paul arsons

The St. Paul ATF is offering $5,000 for information leading to his arrest

cigarette-gc8e7e7299_1280

St. Paul considering $10 minimum for a pack of cigarettes

It's among a number of sweeping tobacco reforms it's considering this week.

highland bridge

St. Paul announces names of parks at Highland Bridge development

Construction on the parks will begin later this year.

St. Cloud's newest park honors the area's first slaves

Mary Butler was a slave brought to St. Cloud in 1857.

St. Cloud's newest park honors the area's first slaves

Mary Butler was a slave brought to St. Cloud in 1857.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 3.33.57 PM

Year-long study concludes St. Paul PD needs 100 more staff

The study was commissioned by Chief Todd Axtell last January.