AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The town of Amherst has committed to a stream of funding for its reparations fund. They created it last year to address the harm that slavery and racism has had for black residents, and has committed $2 million over two years, modeling it after their cannabis tax revenue.
The idea is that the town can collect up to $205,000 and put it towards different benefits, whether it’s to support a community or a direct benefit.
Michele Miller is a town councilor and the chair of the African Heritage Reparations Assembly. She said it’s important to show that establishing funds like these are important to show that it is possible to address the wrongs of the past.
“When a community comes together, plants that seed, resolves to engage in a path of remedy and then follows through on that commitment,” Miller said. “It’s a possibility for creating a more just and equitable society.”
Miller also told 22News that the next step is to figure out how those funds will be used. For example, if the funds will go towards current Amherst residents who were descendants of enslaved people, or towards the descendants of enslaved people currently living in Amherst.
The assembly will be reaching out to black residents in Amherst and creating a harm report to best figure out how the funds will be used.