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New York Governor Hochul Officially Signs Bill Creating Reparations Commission

New York Governor Hochul Officially Signs Bill Creating Reparations Commission

Hochul

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Dec. 19, screenshot, Rochester First

In a historic move aimed at addressing the enduring legacy of slavery, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed a groundbreaking piece of legislation to create a commission for slavery reparations. The new law authorizes the formation of a community commission tasked with studying the history of slavery in New York state and exploring what reparations could entail. This significant step marks a commitment to addressing the deep-rooted racial injustices that have persisted long after the abolition of slavery.

A bill was signed Dec. 19 morning aimed at giving reparations for slavery.

According to Hochul, a commission will be created to study what reparations may look like in New York, but she pointed out it’s not about fixing the past, but about doing more for African Americans and “bending the arc of justice.”

“If this committee can present a viable path forward to helping the descendants of New York slaves and addressing the harms and disparities that exist in education, that exist in healthcare, that exist in the environment, that will lift all of us up,” said Hochul.

For many activists and advocates, this legislation represents a long-awaited milestone. The bill’s advocacy gained momentum after the racially motivated Buffalo mass shooting, emphasizing the urgent need to confront the historical injustices suffered by Black communities. Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, who sponsored the bill, played a pivotal role in its passage, and community leaders and activists like Nicole Carty of Get Free rallied behind its cause.

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Reparations hold historical significance, especially in the context of New York. Prior to the Revolutionary War, New York City had one of the largest populations of enslaved Africans in the United States, second only to Charleston, South Carolina. Enslaved Africans constituted a significant portion of New York’s population, with their numbers reaching 20 percent, Rochester First reported.

A number of other states had already gone ahead with reparations commissions, most notably California, which just completed its study with the commission putting forth a number of reparations suggestions to the Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Under the New York proposal, the commission created by this legislation will consist of nine members appointed over the next six months. Their mandate includes a year to draft a comprehensive report outlining their findings and recommendations. This report will be presented to the public, furthering the conversation about reparations and racial justice in New York, CBS News reported.

“What’s hard to embrace is that our state flourished from that slavery. It’s not a beautiful story, but indeed it is the truth,” Hochul said. “Today, I challenge all New Yorkers to be the patriots and rebuke and not excuse our role in benefiting from the institution of slavery.”

While some praised the move, others were more skeptical and spoke out on X/Twitter.

Some wondered, like INSOMNIAC HULK ERA, how reparations would work. INSOMNIAC HULK ERA tweeted, “How in a city of immigrants will the differentiate American Black people from immigrant Black people?”

Some see it as an empty gesture.

Faye Bishop tweeted, “This is a nothing burger. She’s doing what Newsom did in Cali which is sign a bill to create a commission to ‘study’ what reparations may look like in New York.”

The Black Author agreed, writing, “Exactly! It is just a start to a long, extensive conversation and then years and years of awaiting a final bill. Its funny though how her team moved swift to help migrants though.”

“Word salad & nothing more. The article specifically states this is NOT to repair the past. She stated how NY BENEFITED. She acknowledged discrimination, redlining, housing discrimination, segregation & poverty. & threw another study out there. They know just the R word to use,” KingJarvo also tweeted his thoughts.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Dec. 19, screenshot, Rochester First, https://www.rochesterfirst.com/state-politics/governor-hochul-expected-to-sign-slavery-reparations-bill/