PHILADELPHIA – Today, Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District), N’COBRA PHL, and other stakeholders gathered to announce the structure of the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force and invite members of Philadelphia’s Black community to apply.

“Until we look into our past with the determination to uncover the entire truth – no matter how ugly or scary that truth may be – our nation’s original sin will continue to toxify the present and future,” Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District) said. “This work is for our people, by our people. I urge Philadelphians from the descendant community to apply to join the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force and join us as we examine our past and shape our future!”

Councilmembers Jamie Gauthier and Kendra Brooks, in partnership with N’COBRA PHL, introduced a resolution authorizing the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force. The Task Force received unanimous approval from City Council on June 22nd, 2023.

“This is time for us to come together like we’ve done before. It’s time that we continue the great work of Philadelphians like Richard Allen, Absolom Jones, Zilpha Elaw, Benjamin Bannaker, Octavius Catto, Sarah Mapps Douglass, Cecil B. Moore, Ethel D. Allen, Dr. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, Kenny Gamble, and so many more,” said Breanna Moore and Rashaun Williams, Co-Chairs of the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force and N’COBRA PHL. “This reparations task force is a vehicle to implement the vision of Black Philadelphians for Black Philadelphians. To strengthen the repair that is already happening and open the floodgates to welcome the future healing that will be.”

Philadelphians who are the descendants of enslaved Africans in the United States, the descendants of Black, Negro, or Colored Americans since 1865, and/or the descendants of Freedmen emancipated from slavery are invited to apply for eight open positions on the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force: Economic Justice Coordinator, Public & Post-Secondary Education Coordinator, Health & Wellness Coordinator, Atlantic World History Coordinator, Human Services & Community Resources Coordinator, Criminal & Legal Justice System Coordinator, Law & Policy (International & Domestic) Coordinator, and Urban Planning & Sustainable Development Coordinator. Applications will be accepted through January 15th, 2024. Residents can visit or to learn more about the Task Force and apply.

“Every day we can see the ongoing impact of slavery and racist policies on the people of Philadelphia,” said Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At-Large). “Despite the heroic efforts of Black leaders and the astounding resilience of Black communities, Black children still get far fewer resources and opportunities than white children, and Black families still suffer from poverty, violence, and other dangerous conditions at far higher rates than white families. Our ancestors call us to do this work: to deepen people’s understanding of our history, to heal the wounds of the past, and to chart a path forward toward equality. Today, we are inviting Black Philadelphians to answer the call of our ancestors by applying to join the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force.”

The Philadelphia Reparations Task Force will study and develop reparations proposals and programs for Black Philadelphians whose ancestors endured chattel slavery and Jim Crow in the United States. The mission of the task force is to provide the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States of America with a comprehensive overview and report on how reparations can atone for the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and institutional racism in America for Black Philadelphians. The vision of the task force is to elevate and protect the full human rights and human potential of Black Philadelphia in real-time.

Reparations may be needed to mitigate the extraordinary economic, educational, housing, and healthcare disparities between Black Philadelphians and the general population. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Philadelphians had a poverty rate more than twice that of non-Hispanic, white Philadelphians. At the same time, 2.5% of the city’s businesses are Black-owned, even though more than 40% of the city’s population is Black.

The members of the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force will be announced during Black History Month (February) 2024. The Task Force will begin its work shortly thereafter.

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