On Friday, July 2, NYS Assembly Member Charles Barron and NYC Council Member Inez D. Barron held a Reparations Rally and Press Conference at the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan, to demand a vote on Reparations Bill A3080A in the New York State legislature.
The bill demands reparations for the enslavement of Africans from New York State.
The Barron’s were joined by Assembly Members Latrice Walker and Taylor Darling, Viola Plummer, chair of the December 12th Movement, Minister Henry Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, and Kalima Johnson of Operation Power.
Assembly Member Barron stated, “We came out here today because, if not now, when? This is an historical moment. This is not a time for reform. This is not a time for watered down legislation. This is not a time for people in high office co-opting your movement. Telling you to stop protesting, ‘You won.’ Determining what your victory is. This is not the time for that.
This is not the time for Black elected officials to get together with governors and mayors, selling out the Black community. Those days are over.”
Assemblyman Barron’s Reparations Bill A3080A was submitted to the state legislature and passed in its governmental operations committee in June of 2019. It is now awaiting a floor vote.
“When we come together around serious issues like reparations, we are not playing. We don’t play with the blood of our ancestors. Reparations is a debt owed. A crime has been committed. A people have been injured. And compensation is due,” Barron said. He called for people to contact their state representatives and demand they pass it. “Whenever they say they want to make up a task force, ask them who makes up the task force?”
Heretofore, reparations legislation has been based on government commissions to study its content. Barron’s reparations bill requires community representation on the commission. There will be nine representatives from organizations who have worked for decades for reparations and five state representatives. The community organizations include the December 12th Movement, NCOBRA and the Institute of the Black World. Barron’s reparations bill is not a ‘study,’ it focuses on remedies.
“Reparations is long overdue for the systemic and racial disparities that Black people have endured for over 400 years and for the uncompensated labor that was extracted from them, that serves as the economic foundation of the wealth that this racist, parasitic, capitalist system was built upon,” Barron continued. “The African Burial Ground site was selected in commemoration of the past inhumane injustices that our ancestors endured in New York State. Fast forward to today, and we are still enduring injustices when it comes to COVID-19 which ravaged the Black community, lack of affordable housing, education, police brutality, unemployment, low/paying jobs, homelessness, and lack of affordable/quality healthcare.”
“Speaker Heastie bring the Reparations Bill (A3080A) to the floor for a vote now! Gov. Cuomo make a commitment now to sign this bill into law when it reaches your desk. Justice delayed is justice denied,” Assemblyman Barron concluded.