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Wilmington City Council names reparations task force

Sean Greene - WDEL

Wilmington City Council has named the 9 people tasked with determining possible reparations for city residents.

The "City Council Reparations Taskforce to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, with a Special Consideration for African Americans Who are Descendants of Persons Enslaved in the United States" was authorized in December 2020, but council agreed on the nine members during Thursday's meeting, nearly two years to the day.

Shane Cannon, Dr. Michael Casson, Jr., Darryl Chambers, Bebe Coker, Alisia Drew, Dr. Jason James, Jr., Renata Kowalczyk, Leandra Marshall, and Cobe Owens will make up the panel, who's mission is to make findings for possible compensation connected to systemic racial disparity, and other discrimination against African Americans based on city policies.

Councilwoman Zanthia Oliver was part of the unanimous vote to support the task force.

"What are we looking for? There's no money that can answer this question. This is a major discussion, whether you're looking at taxes or programs, the bottom line is you look for reparation, and what is it? It's about being fair."

Councilwoman Maria Cabrera said the time to hold back groups from success is over.

"What has been done in history is appalling, and as we look around us, we see it is still going on and with other groups. The one way that we can prevent from this country moving forward with the sins that continue to occur is by doing this reparation."

Council President Trippi Congo said the next few months should be about learning, and then making changes.

"I'm definitely excited for this task force. This task force is chalked full of people who get it, understand it, and aren't afraid to talk about. I'm excited to work with, learn from, and support this task force."

The task force is expected to report its findings to City Council within 180 days.

Early in his Presidency, Joe Biden backed the creation of a national commission to study the issue of possible reparations.

Providence, Rhode Island recently signed a $10 million budget for the Providence Reparations program, although there has been a controversy that some White residents could qualify.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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