Louisville mayor signs resolution supporting reparations study

Councilman Jecorey Arthur: ‘Wealth was stolen, and wealth must be returned’
Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer signed a resolution Thursday starting a discussion about reparations in the city.

The resolution does not set aside money for Black descendants of slavery, but instead shows Louisville’s support for House Resolution 40, federal legislation that would create a commission tasked with studying the impacts of slavery on African Americans and coming up with solutions to fix the damage, including reparations.

HR 40 was first introduced to Congress in 1989, and Fischer said he is signing the resolution now because it took the “right people” to push for it at the “right time.”

“This is not an outlandish idea,” Fischer said. “It’s just something that is long overdue. We’re not saying with this resolution that here’s our plan and here’s how we’re going to pay for it. We’re just merely saying this is a long-overdue discussion that needs to be passed in Congress so a federal body can get to work on this.”

Metro Councilman Jecorey Arthur, D-District 4, wrote the resolution, Metro Council voted to pass it 13-8-4 in September and Fischer signed it Thursday.

Arthur told reporters during a news conference that American descendants of slavery are owed $19 to $20 trillion in reparations, money only the federal government has, and something it has paid other groups before.

“We have been skipped, we have been stepped on; we have been stepped around,” Arthur said. “If you read the resolution, you’ll see a few examples of reparative justice of reparations that have been provided to groups, specific groups such as Japanese Americans, Native Americans; even Jewish Americans who never suffered the atrocity of the Holocaust on American soil.”

Arthur added reparations are the only solution to close the wealth gap, which was created by slavery, laws and policies designed to hinder Black descendants of slavery.

“We are a wealthless group across this country, in a country we were forced to build and never (were) paid for,” Arthur said. “The only solution is wealth. Wealth was stolen, and wealth must be returned.”

For decades, HR 40 never gained traction until this April, when it passed in the House Judiciary Committee. Implementing HR 40 would cost the federal government around $20 million.

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