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New York to Consider Reparations for Descendants of Enslaved People


New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law on Tuesday establishing a commission in New York state dedicated to exploring reparations as a means to address the enduring, detrimental consequences of historical slavery. This move follows the precedent set by similar task forces in California and Illinois.

Enacted in June by state legislators, the law mandates that the commission thoroughly assess the historical institution of slavery, which was officially eradicated in New York by 1827, and analyze its lasting impact on the present-day well-being of Black residents in the state.

“The lesson I learned at a young age was sometimes moving the ball down the field takes more time, but the goal is always worth pursuing,” Hochul said. “I’m sharing this because I want New Yorkers to know the small steps in my development. Many of us grew up in very homogeneous communities – all Black, all Brown, all Asian, all white. And sometimes it’s just difficult to expand beyond that, to embrace differences and experiences so foreign to us, so different. Understanding each other takes work, and we rarely get it right all at once. But I say this: it’s essential that we try.”

Comprising nine members, the commission is obligated to present a comprehensive report within a year after its inaugural meeting. While the recommendations may encompass potential financial reparations, it is important to note that they will not be legally binding as legislation would have to be passed. The primary objective of the commission’s findings is to catalyze policy alterations, initiatives, and projects aimed at ameliorating the adverse effects of slavery and fostering positive change.

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