The Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted 4-2 to create a Reparations Task Force at their April 14 meeting. According to the board’s meeting minutes, the purpose of the task force is to “research the feasibility of slavery reparations for Blacks/ African Americans who live in Fulton County Georgia and for other purposes.”
As this could impact every resident of Fulton County, you should be asking yourself these questions:
What are reparations?
Affiliated with the concept of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which is currently circulating in local area schools, slavery reparations stems from the concept that America was not founded in 1776, but rather dates back to 1619. This is the date supporters say America began to enrich itself through the institution of slavery, thus the true date of America’s founding. Although American slavery ended over 150 years ago, reparation proponents claim slaves were never properly compensated for their labor; therefore, current American taxpayers must make amends for this through taxes and redistribution programs.
Who receives this compensation will be left up to government representatives. Reparation advocates go further to claim that despite a civil war, a civil rights movement, multiple non-discrimination laws and affirmative action programs, America continues to be plagued with institutional racism. They define institutional racism as discriminatory actions embedded in all structures of American society, including government, businesses and schools. They claim that by imposing an additional tax on the ordinary American, this would completely rectify the problem of institutional racism.
What is a task force?
Here in Fulton County, it was decided that each district commissioner would appoint one member to a reparations task force. This unelected group would then decide if and how Fulton County would pay the reparations tax. Qualifications for the task force were not published.
Who is on the Fulton County Reparations task force? Are they objective members?
One of the newly appointed task force members is Khalid Kamau. Kamau is a current South Fulton city councilman, organizer of the Atlanta chapter of Black Lives Matters and a member of the Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Founded in 1982, DSA claims to be the largest socialist organization in the country. Kamau’s biography (https://www.khalidcares.com/bio.html) states that he is the first Black Lives Matter organizer to be elected to public office. In an article from People’s World, an on-line newspaper based on the original 1924 newspaper founded by the Communist Party USA, Kamau commented, “If you do the work, get out and knock the doors, talk with people, you learn that people really want socialism.” Khalid Kamau is also running for mayor of South Fulton. In his election announcement, Khalid said, “I am going to spend the next 400 days talking about how we build a government that addresses 400 years of previous government exploitation and abuse of Black people.”
Why should you care?
The call for reparations is happening across the country and some areas have already constructed a taxing and compensating process. Evanston, Illinois is the nation’s first city to do this. Evanston is also the childhood home of Fulton County Commissioner Natalie Hall, who sponsored the proposal for the Fulton County reparation task force. Evanston is initially paying $25,000 for either home down payments or repairs to eligible residents. The city has also committed $10 million over a decade to the reparation effort, which will be funded by a three percent tax on marijuana sales in the city (In 2019, marijuana sales became legal in Illinois). The program in Evanston is seen by advocates as a potential national model.
Given this information, you need to ask yourself:
Just because you currently live in Fulton County, should you be penalized for what happened
150 years (essentially seven generations) ago? If your family or ancestors did not inhabit Fulton County before abolition, should this tax apply to you?
Given that the charter of the Fulton County task force is to “research the feasibility” of reparations, does the makeup of the group render it a foregone conclusion?
If the task force somehow determines that reparations are warranted and feasible, how do you suppose it would be administered, and when will it end? How would its success in eliminating institutional racism be measured?
Do we deserve and need yet another tax (redistribution program) to serve a vague and divisive purpose?
These questions and more should be posed to the following:
County Manager: Dick Anderson 404-612-8335
Task Force Vote
District 1: Liz Hausman [email protected] no vote
District 2: Bob Ellis [email protected] no
District 3: Lee Morris [email protected] no
District 4: Natalie Hall [email protected] yes
District 5: Marvin S. Arrington, Jr. [email protected] yes
District 6: Kahdijah Abdur-Rahman [email protected] yes
The Board of Commissioners meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. Meetings are live streamed on FGTV.
Editorial Note: Councilmember khalid prefers the lower-cased spelling of his name in the Yoruba African tradition emphasizing the community over the individual.