New Philadelphia task force studies reparations for Black residents

A new city task force is investigating whether and how Philadelphia should provide reparations to Black residents descended from enslaved ancestors, such as direct payments, targeted social services, and political and economic reforms.

The Philadelphia Reparations Task Force formally launched last week and held its first public listening session. The group plans to hold public meetings and conduct surveys with the goal of producing a report with recommendations. 

“Until we look into our past with the determination to uncover the entire truth — no matter how ugly or scary that truth may be — our nation’s original sin will continue to toxify the present and future,” said Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, a co-sponsor of the legislation creating the panel. 

With the launch of the task force, Philadelphia joins a short list of cities and states that have studied ways — and in a few cases, committed funding — to try to repair persistent harms that have their roots in slavery, the Jim Crow era, and institutional racism. 

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