One of the highest taxed states in the United States of America is looking to pay millions more taxpayer dollars for reparations to black residents of its state.
A group of black, Democrat lawmakers in New Jersey have decided that they want to examine the state’s role in slavery and how it could provide reparations to black residents of the state, NJ.com reported.
Leaders of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus on Thursday introduced a bill that would establish the New Jersey Reparations Task Force.
If approved, the panel would research the history of slavery in the Garden State, any racial discrimination and disparity that stemmed from it, and how the state could help make up for it.
The proposal comes as the U.S. remembers the 400th anniversary of the first slaves arriving in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619.
New Jersey fought for the Union in the Civil War but was the last of the Northern states to abolish slavery.
The lawmakers argue that the negative effects of slavery have lingered for decades, including voter suppression, racial wealth gaps, mass incarceration, segregation, and poor infrastructure in black communities.
About 13 percent of New Jersey’s current population is black.
It is important to note that, as a Northern state, New Jersey is not high on the list of state’s that had a tremendous amount of slaves at any time in history.
“The existence and history of slavery in the United States is the greatest evil our country every committed,” state Sen. Ronald Rice, who is the chairman of the caucus, said.
“The continuation and institutional racism spanning from the emancipation of slaves to the present continues the darkest part of history,” he said.
“This is a first step in righting our country’s greatest wrong,” Sandra Cunningham, another Democrat state Senator, said at the news conference. “It is time we begin the long and painstaking process to rectify our past.”
“New Jersey will be an example for our country and for the world to look at as far as how we repair these irreparable harms and move into a future that will be great for generations to come,” State Sen. Shavonda Sumter said.
And the Democrat governor of the state, Phil Murphy, said at a news conference not related to the Democrat lawmaker’s push, that he would be open to the idea of paying reparations for slavery.
“I think we’d be, without question, open-minded to that,” he said on Thursday at a press conference for sentencing reform.
“It is a scourge that we live with — this by the way the year of the 400th anniversary of slaves first arriving in America — and I would say today’s a good example of this. We want to lead the nation in social justice, and matters that relate to the awful legacy of slavery is included in that,” he said.
In April, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat candidate for president, introduced a similar bill at the federal level that would pay reparations.
“Since slavery in this country, we have had overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations,” the senator said in April.
“This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country,” he said.
“It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed,” he said.
“It’s being reduced to just a box to check on a presidential list when this is so much more of a serious conversation,” he said.
“My frustration is we don’t have a way of addressing head-on in this country the persistence of racism, the persistence of white supremacy, and implicit racial bias,” he said.
This is not a fringe issue anymore, as five other states are considering similar measures. This is the new Democrat agenda and it is coming to your state soon.