On Monday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors published a letter in which they backed the idea of Democrats to create a reparations commission so the idea of slavery reparations to 41 million black Americans could be examined.
The letter, signed on behalf of the mayors by Louisville mayor Greg Fischer, the president of the organization, was addressed to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who had submitted bills in their respective houses to create a reparations commission.
The letter stated:
I am pleased to share with you that last week at the Conference’s 88th Annual Meeting, the nation’s mayors unanimously passed a resolution I sponsored in support of the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (H.R. 40/S. 1083). We recognize and support your legislation as a concrete first step in our larger reckoning as a nation, and a next step to guide the actions of both federal and local leaders who have promised to do better by our Black residents. Our support of your bicameral legislation is not just an endorsement – it is a resolution.
We have resolved to do better for our Black residents by promoting equal rights and opportunity through the implementation of policy reforms at the local level, as well as through our advocacy for action at the federal level … . We are committed to doing our role in local government to disrupt systemic racism, which inhibits the realization of a nation of liberty, prosperity, and justice for all. Thank you for your tireless advocacy on behalf of our cities. We are proud to echo your calls to address centuries of racial injustice and inequities in America, and the nation’s mayors stand ready to support and amplify your efforts.
As The Washington Examiner noted, a study published in The Review of Black Political Economy theorized how much the bill for reparations would be, writing:
The total debt in 2018 would be US$6.202 quadrillion, divided by 40,909,233 Black non-Hispanic descendants of the enslaved would result in a total reparations payment per descendant of US$151.63 million, and the per capita debt for all 327,167,434 American residents would be US $18.96 million, with the net per capita reparations amounting to US$132.67 million per descendant in 2018.
In April 2019, Booker introduced a bill to create a group to study the payment of slavery reparations. Booker said, “This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country. It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.”
Booker’s bill was a “Senate companion to a bill introduced in the House of Representatives in January by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, which if passed into law would set up a commission to study the impact of slavery and continued discrimination against black Americans and make recommendations on reparation proposals for the descendants of slaves,” Fox News reported.
Jackson Lee said, “The commission aims to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation to the desegregation process and the present day. The commission would also make recommendations concerning any form of apology and compensation to begin the long delayed process of atonement for slavery.”
Ballotpedia has noted, “Democratic mayors oversaw 64 of the 100 largest cities at the beginning of 2020, 61 at the start of 2019, 63 at the start of 2018, 64 at the beginning of 2017, and 67 at the start of 2016.” The U.S. Conference of Mayors is comprised of mayors from cities with populations of 30,000 or more.