Racial inequality in America was cemented and institutionalized for generations when restitution was denied to survivors of chattel slavery and human bondage — with their descendants stripped of the uniquely American promise of self-empowerment through legally-enforced oppression, segregation, and discrimination officially sanctioned in both the public and private sectors.
As documented by the New York Times, the wide-ranging consequences of that history of inhumanity and injustice continue to weigh heavily in the lives of American descendants of slaves:
“Black Americans remain the most segregated group of people in America and are five times as likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods as white Americans. Not even high earnings inoculate Black people against racialized disadvantage. Black families earning $75,000 or more a year live in poorer neighborhoods than white Americans earning less than $40,000 a year, research by John Logan, a Brown University sociologist, shows. According to another study, by the Stanford sociologist Sean Reardon and his colleagues, the average black family earning $100,000 a year lives in a neighborhood with an average annual income of $54,000.
Black Americans with high incomes are still Black: They face discrimination across American life. But it is because their families have not been able to build wealth that they are often unable to come up with a down payment to buy in more affluent neighborhoods, while white Americans with lower incomes often use familial wealth to do so.
The idea of reparations for Black Americans has been locked in a conversation that has hardly moved beyond theory since the end of the Civil War. The members of Mayors Organized for Reparations & Equity (MORE) are committed to moving that needle with action and advocacy that points toward justice and healing the wounds of history.
Our coalition stands on the belief that cities can — and should — act as laboratories for bold ideas that can be transformative for racial and economic justice on a larger scale, and demonstrate for the country how to pursue and improve initiatives that take a reparatory approach to confronting and dismantling structural and institutional racism.