AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A reparations plan for black residents of Amherst has been unveiled by the town’s African heritage reparation assembly.
The Town of Amherst’s African Heritage Reparation Assembly, a working group designed to create a plan for the town to provide reparations to local residents impacted by anti-black racism has released its final report. It’s been in the works for a few years now, a push for reparative justice locally first with the hopes of expanding.
Back in 2020, the Town of Amherst created the African Heritage Reparation Assembly of Amherst (AHRA) in an effort to address the ongoing impacts of historic racism.
Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, AHRA Assembly Member told 22News, “The harms of slavery have gone unrecorded, unnoted, and unpaid, the debt that is owed. And so we now move in an important step toward paying that debt.”
Following several listening sessions, studies, and public surveys, the committee recently released a report naming its recommendations for reparations. They recommended creating an endowment to fund the reparation work using tax revenue from cannabis sales. They say the money could go towards youth programming, affordable housing, and direct cash payments as part of reparations, among others.
“Anti-black structural racism, anti-black discrimination, and discrimination of all sorts has been occurring in the town of Amherst since its inception,” Michele Miller, AHRA Chair said.
The town of Amherst has allocated $2 million to be used over a ten-year period on these reparations. The AHRA, however, is pushing for an acceleration of that commitment from the town, to ensure the fund is fully funded within 4 years.
“We’re hoping this begins to move us locally and as well as globally toward the kind of change we need,” Dr. Amilcar Shabazz said.
These are all still just recommendations, it’s up to the town to decide where they want this initiative to go next. To review the final report visit AmherstMA.gov.