As the United States continues to grapple with its history of slavery, some cities are now considering using coronavirus relief funds to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves.
The idea of reparations is not a new one, but the pandemic has brought the issue to the forefront. As cities struggle to make up for lost revenues, they are looking for ways to generate new sources of income.
In January, the city of Evanston, Illinois, became the first city in the United States to use coronavirus relief funds to pay reparations. The city set aside $10 million to be used for housing assistance and economic development initiatives that will benefit the descendants of slaves.
Other cities, including St. Louis, Missouri, and Asheville, North Carolina, are now considering similar measures. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson has proposed setting aside $500,000 for reparations, while Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer has proposed allocating $1 million for reparations.
Proponents of reparations argue that the money could be used to help close the racial wealth gap, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. They argue that the money could be used to provide housing assistance, create jobs, and fund education and health initiatives that would benefit the descendants of slaves.
Opponents of reparations argue that the money should be used to help all citizens, regardless of race. They argue that the money should be used to fund public services such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
Regardless of the debate, it is clear that the issue of reparations is not going away anytime soon. As cities continue to struggle with the economic fallout of the pandemic, reparations may become an increasingly attractive option for generating new sources of revenue.