Mayor Wu announces members of Reparations Task Force
BOSTON - Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has announced the 10-member group that will make up the city's new Reparations Task Force. The group aims to look back through the city's nearly 400-year history to determine how institutional slavery may contribute to disparities in communities of color.
"Back when our commonwealth was just a colony, Boston was a primary port of departure for ships engaged in transatlantic slave trade. Even after our city outlawed slavery our city continued to prosper from enslaved people. That legacy formed deep, painful, and lasting systems of inequity that persist to this day," said Mayor Wu. "Equities are evident through the disparities we see in wealth, income, home ownership, and education."
The two-year study will go in three phases. The first will look back at the start of slavery in Boston, which dates back to the 1600s. The next phase will look at what institutions and legislators have done since then to help the problems. The last part will look at what can be done in the future.
"I am hopeful through this collective process together it will become clear what we need to do," said Tanisha Sullivan, President of NAACP Boston. "Whether that is programmatic, or it takes on any other form."
"Biggest spot where there is no light rail is between the Orange and Red Line, and most of the folks who live there are people of color," explained Imari Paris Jeffries, Executive Director of Embrace Boston. "So, reparations could be about supporting rapid transportation for a community with transportation desert."
The task force is made up of 10 people, spanning several generations. The group also includes two 11th graders.
Chair Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., Esq., Attorney, former President of the Boston branch of the NAACP, current member of City's Black Men & Boys Commission
Denilson Fanfan, 11th grader at Jeremiah E. Burke High School
L'Merchie Frazier, Public historian, visual activist, and Executive Director of Creative and Strategic Partnerships for SPOKE Arts
George "Chip" Greenidge, Jr., Founder and Director of Greatest MINDS
Dr. Kerri Greenidge, Assistant Professor of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora at Tufts University
Dr. David Harris, Past Managing Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice
Dorothea Jones, Longtime civic organizer and member of the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee
Carrie Mays, UMass Boston student and youth leader with Teen Empowerment
Na'tisha Mills, Program Manager for Embrace Boston
Damani Williams, 11th grader at Jeremiah E. Burke High School