OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, has unveiled a new plan in connection with George Soros’ Open Society Foundations to kickstart a program for reparations in the city.
Speaking in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Garcetti said on Friday that the Geroge Soros-owned organization had expressed an interest in financing reparations for Black residents, which he hopes will serve as a model for corporations and banks to do the same. Garcetti’s remarks come a day after he announced the formation of the L.A. Reparations Advisory Commission to develop what he called a “pilot reparations program targeted at a cohort of Black Angelanos.”
Garcetti said that Soros’ international network, which provides grants for a variety of progressive causes and projects, was one of “many” entities that would be willing to finance such a program. He stated that he hoped banks and corporations would come forward “to begin to make some amends to push this movement forward,” adding that the funding would be a way “to reckon with a complicity that we saw in American capitalism, slavery and post-slavery racism.”
As noted by the L.A. Times, the beneficiaries of the program and how any financial compensation would be made toward them would be details for Garcetti’s commission to decide.
The Times wrote:
Commission members, which were named by Garcetti and Black City Council members, include Michael Lawson, a former ambassador and head of the Los Angeles Urban League; Khansa Jones-Muhammad, co-chair of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants; Mandla Kayise, an expert on economic and land use development; Cheryl Harris, a leading scholar of critical race theory and systemic discrimination at UCLA School of Law; Dr. Katrina VanderWoude, president of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College; Charisse Bremond-Weaver, president chief executive of Brotherhood Crusade; and Mark Wilson, founding executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Community Development.
Garcetti said the L.A. advisory commission will not look at “all racism” but will “look specifically at reparations around where laws held back” Black Angelenos’ ability to build wealth.
Garcetti also announced the creation of the National Coalition of Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity. The 11 mayors from cities including Denver, Austin, Texas, St. Paul, Minn., and Sacramento committed to establishing advisory commissions in their own cities that would also probe making pilot programs.
The paper states that “Awarding reparations to people descended from American slaves has been heralded as a way to close the wealth gap that persists between Black and white Americans.”
The mayor’s remarks come a day after President Biden signed a bill into law establishing June 19, or Juneteenth National Independence Day, as a federal holiday to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States.
At a press conference on Friday to launch the national Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE), Garcetti told other mayors who also committed to lead reparations pilot programs in their cities that “to address racism in America, America has to address racism.”
Join me live for the launch of the national Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE), the largest-ever coalition of mayors committing to lead reparations pilots, targeted to Black Americans in our cities.https://t.co/danY5Ixd9C
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) June 18, 2021
“This year has shown us in some of the starkest possible terms that while America is a land of opportunity for some, it remains a place of injustice, inequality, and indignity for too many of our black brothers and sisters,” he said. “It remains unequal for the descendants of those who were forced onto slave ships, uprooted from their lives, uprooted from their loves, stripped of their humanity and their dignity and their rights.”
Garcetti expressed his hopes that such programs would serve as a model for the federal government to eventually follow suit.