Detroit City Council approves reparations resolution

Reparations resolution could appear on November ballot

Reparations discussion gains momentum with city council resolution, petition drive

DETROIT – Multiple organizations are making a serious case for reparations in the city of Detroit.

Detroit City Council leaders recently approved a historic resolution that would allow the city to explore potential options for reparations.

“We never got our 40 acres and a mule. We should have continued what happens after 1865, and then we had all of those things that set us back like Jim Crow,” Attorney Todd Perkins said.

Perkins said so far enough people have signed on to have the vote for reparations to appear on the upcoming November ballot.

“The signature amount that’s required was 3,680. We submitted, I believe, well over 3,700,” Perkins said.

At this point, the signatures still have to be validated -- but the groundwork is being done in a way that works hand-in-hand with a similar idea from Detroit’s city council.

“It is a call to say that we, as a city, should join the national movement regarding reparations,” City Council President Pro-Tem, Mary Sheffield, said.

Sheffield says a resolution was passed so that the city can finally have an open discussion about what can be done.

“We, as a predominantly Black city, believe that so many of our families have been hurt, and we would like to begin to explore ways in which reparations could play out here in Detroit. Because it’s not about a handout, right? It’s about a hand up,” Sheffield concluded.

But some leaders in the Black community, like pastor of 180 Church Lorozeno Sewell, believes a handout is exactly what this would be.

“I believe that us, as people, we have enough within ourselves to do everything we need to do to pull ourselves up. I don’t believe that we need a handout. Anytime you receive shekels, you get shackles,” Sewell said.

Right now, there’s no dollar amount attached to these proposed reparations.

Perkins said it’s more about the symbolism of admitting there’s been a wrongdoing that needs to be corrected than it is about money.

The attorney said ideally the funds would be from marijuana sales, as a lot of those funds have yet to be allocated.

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About the Author:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.