Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and a coalition of American mayors Friday launched an initiative to work toward reparations for Black Americans in an effort to recompense for slavery and centuries of systemic oppression.

“We’ve never had a serious solutions-oriented conversation about restitution to enslaved people or to their descendants. We’ve never adequately addressed the fact that in America the average Black family earning $100,000 a year lives in a neighborhood with an average income of $54,000 a year. Or that in my city, not just the 10 to one wealth gap but a nearly 100 to one wealth gap between white and Black families exists,” Garcetti said.

The mayors in the Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE) coalition have committed to:

— supporting HR 40 in the U.S. House of Representatives, which would establish the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans;

— forming advisory committees made up of local Black-led organizations in their cities to formally advise the mayors on an approach to reparations and identify funding sources; and

— establishing pilot reparation programs targeting a cohort of Black residents.

Garcetti added that cities do not have the funds to pay for reparations themselves and need the federal government’s support.

The Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity coalition was co-founded by Garcetti and Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler, St. Paul, Minnesota Mayor Melvin Carter, Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Jorge Elorza, Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas, Durham, North Carolina Mayor Steve Schewel, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Asheville, North Carolina Mayor Esther Manheimer, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and Tullahassee, Oklahoma Mayor Keisha Currin.

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