In a Nov. 6 statement, the city announced that it has created a task force to investigate Atlanta’s history of discrimination and to “provide recommendations for appropriate reparations.”
Although the city hasn’t revealed the specific plans for reparations, several ideas appear to be on the table. Michael Julian Bond, one of Atlanta’s leaders in the effort to bring reparations, said the “possibilities are limitless.” Speaking to Atlanta News First, Bond added that the city’s history of discrimination is clear.
“Because we’re creatures of the state, we’re limited in our power and authority. But there have been wrongs that have been committed and are well documented,” he said.
Dr. Cynthia Spence, a reparations expert who teaches at Spelman College, said the options for reparations include reducing property taxes and providing other forms of housing assistance and educational access.
“They may come back and say hey, maybe we’ll give folks some down payment assistance, maybe we’ll have some type of incentive program for them for small business or something of that nature,” Bond told Atlanta News First. “So this will be the job of this committee, to make those recommendations and bring them back to the City of Atlanta.”
According to Spence, several other counties around the country have had success implementing reparation programs.
“This isn’t a new idea, it can happen, it’s been done before and it was actually a promise that was made that was not delivered upon,” she said. “It’s very complex, but the complexity should not prevent us from actually moving forward because we can all agree that harm was done.”