Newark City Council passes resolution in support of New Jersey reparations task force

Newark, New Jersey – The Newark City Council on Wednesday passed a resolution expressing their full support for a New Jersey reparations task force.

New Jersey activists rally in support of a bill to create a state-level reparations task force.
New Jersey activists rally in support of a bill to create a state-level reparations task force.  © New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Elected officials in Newark threw their weight behind the S386/A938 bill to establish a task force to study and develop reparations proposals for Black New Jerseyans.

The purpose of the commission is "to address the generational harms caused by New Jersey’s role in America’s institution of slavery and its legacy of systemic racial discrimination," according to the resolution.

If enacted, the New Jersey task force would become only the second state-level reparations commission after California's.

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"We are heartened that Newark has taken a stand in support of this critical legislation," said Ryan P. Haygood, President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ), a leading advocate in the fight for the task force.

"While efforts are being made across the country to shut down the study of history and racism, New Jersey must do better," he continued. "As our Say the Word campaign urges, we must affirmatively have this conversation, educate ourselves and then take proactive policy steps to invest in our Black communities and other communities of color."

NJISJ's Senior Counsel in the Economic Justice Program, Jean-Pierre Brutus, added, "We can finally feel momentum building for passage of the Reparations Task Force bill, and are grateful to Newark for being part of that. We hope that other cities and towns throughout New Jersey will follow Newark’s lead and support the state Reparations Task Force bill."

The Say the Word coalition – a multiracial, interfaith campaign – is urging Senate President Scutari and Assembly Speaker Coughlin to hold a hearing on the bills before the end of Black History Month.

Activists are asking New Jerseyans to join this call by contacting legislators at 400YearsNJ.org.

Cover photo: New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

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