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Detroit City Council unanimously passes resolution to place reparations question on ballot

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Posted at 8:29 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 20:56:22-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Detroit City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution that would place a question regarding reparations for African Americans on voter ballots.

President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield introduced the resolution for consideration in April.

RELATED: 'It's not a handout, it's a hand up.' Detroit to explore reparations for African American residents

"I know one thing, that it's not a handout, you know, it is a hand up," Sheffield said. "It is something that Black Detroit is owed ... we're going to start to study and research what are other cities doing, what fits best in Detroit. But I think it's about creating economic upward mobility for Detroiters, generational wealth, homeownership, things that, you know, historically we've been left out of."

On Tuesday, the resolution passed unanimously, which is only one step forward. Now language must be approved by the Detroit Election Commission.

"The measure, which was unanimously supported by City Council, will help move the conversation from talk to action and towards making amends for the most egregious discriminatory and racist practices of the past," Sheffield said of the passage passing. "Ultimately, this is about repairing the damage done to the African American community and leveling the playing field so the aggrieved have an equal and real opportunity for success and a better quality of life."

Read President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield's full statement below:

"Today was a monumental step forward in the history of our City and the Nation with the passage of the resolution placing a Reparations question before the voters in Detroit. I would like to personally thank Keith Williams and the Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus, my colleagues on City Council and the members of the Reparations workgroup I established who all came together for this historic initiative. The measure, which was unanimously supported by City Council, will help move the conversation from talk to action and towards making amends for the most egregious discriminatory and racist practices of the past. Ultimately, this is about repairing the damage done to the African American community and leveling the playing field so the aggrieved have an equal and real opportunity for success and a better quality of life.

Although we have cleared the first hurdle, the language must still be approved by the Detroit Election Commission which is comprised of the Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and City of Detroit’s Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia. I’m hopeful and confident that this honorable body will keep this momentum moving in the right direction and certified the language for placement on the ballot in November’s general election. Reparations is long overdue and major cities across the country have their eyes on Detroit and we could serve as a catalyst for a broader federal effort in the not-so-distant future."