Gov. Hochul signs bill to create commission to study reparations for slavery
ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a new bill to create a commission to study reparations for slavery and racial justice in New York on Tuesday morning.
The committee is called the New York State Community Commission on Reparations Remedies. The bill acknowledges the injustice of slavery.
While the creation of the committee doesn’t have an immediate impact, the nine-person panel will spend time examining the institution of slavery, subsequent discrimination, and what roles these forces play in the lives of those of African descent today.
A report by the commission is due one year from the day of their first meeting and will be comprised of nine people who are especially qualified to serve by virtue of their expertise, education, training, or lived experiences in the fields of African-American studies and the criminal justice system.
“We’ve had a lot of steps along the way. some backwards, some forward, many profound failures — but by signing this bill today, I am authorizing the creation of a committee to study what reparations might look like in New York,” she said. “It doesn’t mean fixing the past, undoing what happened, we can’t do that. No one can. But it does mean more than giving people a simple apology 150 years later. This bill makes it possible to have a conversation, a reasoned debate, about what we want the future to look like.”
She also said: “Home ownership and higher education. They would come from the past and see today and say your work is not done. and yet, we take comfort in Dr. King’s words again. The arc of the morale universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
New York Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R-62nd District) responded by saying, in part: “the reparations of slavery were paid with the blood and lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans who fought to end slavery during the civil war.”