As other Black Americans are intimately aware of, the Black
experience is one riddled with broken promises, false hopes and dreams,
violence, trauma, and systems and institutions that seek to benefit from the
exploitation of our individual and collective anguish.
exponentially more because of COVID-19, a stalled economy, and a defective
criminal justice system. Except, we’re not only risking health, eviction,
homelessness and joblessness; Black families are risking body and life to keep
the exhaust of our nation’s engine away from our collective consciousness.
Black Americans across this country are forced to send their children to
failing school systems, are relegated to minimum wage jobs, and are forced to
live in decaying neighborhoods to support the American dream of others.
not only stems from historical transgressions against our freedom, but
accumulates to this day because of the underclass conditions we are forced to
live in and told to be grateful for.
discriminative governmental polices. There are plenty of inequitable systems
today that desperately need our attention and energy.
initiative to undertake would be a Crisis Mitigation Plan for Black Communities
in light of COVID-19 and every other modern-day inequality my community has to
endure and disproportionately suffer from.
conversations about our past, that conversation doesn’t necessarily have to be
tied to restitution.
elected officials should refrain from using it so much or risk diminishing its
worth. For when I think of reparations, I think of a restitution that is
intrinsically connected, dollar for dollar, to the value of the uncompensated
services provided by generations of Black slaves. I think of the compensation
owed to us for our physical, mental, and emotional trauma that we experienced
when our families were torn apart at auction blocks and cotton fields: trauma
that haunts our community to this day.
community when we utter the word “reparations” I’m thinking of a remedy so
thoughtful, holistic, and valuable as to be able to make a dent in the debt owed
to my community. Whatever the reparation is better be capable of generationally
shifting the plight of an entire community.
programs for our Black communities are initiatives worthy of exploration, they
do not meet the criteria that is collectively conjured when we think of what is
owed to these families.
matters and applaud the Mayor for providing a forum for doing so.
underdeliver. My people have been through enough.
Mary Kay Harris, Deputy Majority Leader
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 11
For more information, please visit us on the web at council.providenceri.gov.