St. Paul council reviews report on reparations for slavery descendants

The city of St. Paul is getting closer to offering reparations to the descendants of slaves in Minnesota’s capital city.

At a city council meeting on Wednesday, they discussed direct cash payments intended to address disparities in homeownership, healthcare, education and more among African Americans.

"The city of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Recovery Act is on the right side of history," Trahern Crews said. He chairs an advisory committee on the subject, and argued that because the African American community’s enslaved ancestors worked without pay, their descendants should be compensated for harm caused by slavery; as well as decades of discrimination and racism after it.

"Reparations isn’t charity, it’s not a gift," Crews said. "It’s something that’s owed. It’s a debt for 400 years of slavery."

So far there’s no word on how much each person would get, "It’s going to take a substantial amount of money to address the racial wealth gap," Crews said.

It’s also unclear where the money would come from. But Crews has some ideas: "American Rescue Plan funds, but also there could be from like different sales taxes, tax levies and things like that," Crews offered.

St. Paul city council signaled its support, in a 6-0 vote this week.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter is also with them: "It’s absolutely something that I think should happen," Mayor Carter told FOX 9. "It’s about addressing some of the disparities that exist today with an understanding that those aren’t accidental or god inspired, they’re very man made."

There still remains a lot of work ahead, and it’s unclear when more details will be worked out.