2 Detroit Reparations Task Force members resign

Detroit’s Reparations Task Force suddenly has a couple of slots to fill. This comes after two members decided to step down.

Those former members, Co-Chair Lauren Hood and member Maurice Weeks say a lack of progress prompted their resignations.

“I had not even heard anything about it one way or another. And all of the sudden, they said we have a couple of resignations,” said Mary Waters, city council woman.

Waters is one of many council members rocked by the sudden resignations from the Task Force.

It’s the group installed to look at how Black Detroiters could be compensated for past racial discrimination and inequities- a process known as transitional justice.

Hood and Weeks announced their departure days ago citing a lack of progress.

“I had originally anticipated those who stepped up to the plate and said they wanted to serve the reparations Task Force –  I thought they would see it through,” Waters said. “So, I was very very shocked by that.”

Co-chair Lauren Hood was quoted in the Detroit News saying she was thinking about leaving for months after realizing that reparations meant different things to the 13-member body.

Their official goal is to develop recommendations for economic development and housing programs that address historical discrimination against the city’s Black community in the City, with cash payments also possible.

“You know after Rev. JoAnn Watson passed, things just started to fall apart,” Waters said. “And I haven’t personally monitored it. My staff has been going to the various meetings. But they’ve seemed to have some difficulty just kind of getting things off the ground, because she was in fact, the leader for that Task Force. That was her brainchild some years ago.”

Sources say some members were also frustrated by what they call a lack of support from Council. Council President Mary Sheffield released a statement through her office that said in part:

“The Taskforce was designed to not have Council involved in day-to-day activities and instead be community-led and driven. City Council has done our part by appointing members in a timely fashion and by ensuring funding was secured and appropriated to help facilitate the Taskforce’s work.

“Anytime you assemble a 13-member body, all with different opinions on how to tackle such a complex subject such as reparations, it will take time to get everyone rowing in the same direction. With that said, City Council continues to be available for any assistance or guidance the Reparations Task Force seeks.

Waters says the group still has plenty of talented leaders who can make a difference on some big issues.

“Housing is near and dear to my heart,” she said. “People come down who have been evicted. People come down who lost their home to foreclosure. It is an extremely important issue.

“Many of them, their rent is too high in some of the places where they are living. Housing is a critical issue and I believe that’s a great starting point.”

Sheffield said she will put forth some replacement names that can be voted on by the council when it returns from recess.

Lauren Hood, left, and Maurice Weeks

Lauren Hood, left, and Maurice Weeks


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