Mayor vows to start slavery reparations program in St. Paul

Mayor Melvin Carter claimed that the legacy of slavery has impacted “every aspect of our American economy.”

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter/melvincarter.org

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter recently committed to supporting a slavery reparations program in the city of St. Paul.

Carter is part of a coalition launched last week of 11 mayors across the U.S. The Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE) coalition, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, was formed with the mission of starting pilot reparations programs that would be led by local committees of black leaders.

The mayors in MORE held a virtual press conference last week to announce the group’s inception and mission.

In the meeting, Carter pledged to address reparations in St. Paul, saying that “the legacy of America’s original sin” of slavery still lives on today and will remain, “unless and until we take some affirmative proactive action to interrupt those legacies.”

MORE’s mission, according to the group’s website, includes demonstrating for the rest of the country how to take a “reparatory approach” to “dismantling structural and institutional racism.”

Carter claimed in the press conference that the legacy of slavery has impacted “every aspect of our American economy.”

“[The conversation around reparations] is about how we finally bring some resolution to the fact that our country, for hundreds of years, legally practiced … kidnapping and enslaving African captives here on this soil, and that every aspect of our American economy, every single aspect of our American economy, is built on that legacy,” Carter said.

Other mayors in the coalition include those from Los Angeles, Denver, St. Louis, Austin, Sacramento, and Kansas City, among others.

“I’m proud to serve as a founding member with fellow leaders who are united in our commitment to this vital work,” Carter wrote in a tweet announcing his engagement with the group.

Earlier this year, the St. Paul City Council passed a resolution establishing the Legislative Advisory Committee on Reparations, a committee that will work from July of 2021 to July of 2022 to “lay the groundwork for the establishment” of another permanent committee.

That committee, called the St. Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission, will then look at creating “generational wealth” and increasing economic opportunities for the black community in St. Paul.