The lawmakers of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus in New York are once again making a push for a measure that would create a commission to study reparations and the legacy of economic discrimination against people who arrived in the United States from Africa against their will. 

The measure, backed by state Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, the caucus chair, and state Sen. Jabari Brisport, would have the commission hold hearings around New York and make recommendations to the Legislature for potential remedies. 

“New York State is well-positioned to set the standard on what harm-based reparations should look like. This legislation puts the power in the hands of the community to determine the reparative path forward for New York. It is critically important for us as a society to not only acknowledge how the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and mass incarceration have impacted our nation, but the systematic solutions that will provide recourse to those affected,” Solages said. “Reparations are not about any singular individual, it is about the collective advancement of equity in our society.”

Slavery in New York was outlawed in 1827, but lawmakers also point to the effect of the cotton trade on New York's 19th Century economy. 

“Slavery, segregation, mass incarceration, and other harms against people of African descent are woven into the fabric of America, including right here in New York," Brisport said. "This legislation will make our state a leader in a necessary national conversation about restitution, and create a path towards addressing centuries of racial harm. It is imperative that we create this community commission on reparations this year.”