The 4-2 vote leads the way for the study to bring on five people to research if reparations are necessary for some Fulton County residents. Khadijah Abdur-Rahman, who voted in favor of the funding, told a local television station the researchers would look at what form of reparations should be given, if any are warranted.
“The purpose of the reparations task force is to evaluate if reparations are warranted, if they are warranted, in what form? Should it be educational, should it be financial? What should they be?” Abdur-Rahman told Fox 5 Atlanta.
Commissioner Bridget Thorne, who voted against the funding, denounced reparations as a “divisive concept” and expressed concern over how reparations could harm the community.
“This is just such a divisive concept and I feel like it’s just gonna hurt Fulton County, it’s just gonna rip us apart. We heard in public comment, how people are gonna be paying for it — this is coming out of taxpayer dollars — this $210,000 is coming out of taxpayers dollars, whatever reparations, whatever they decide, whatever they find, they are going to make the taxpayers pay for it. And we don’t have money for a jail, we don’t have money for a hospital, that’s what we need to be focusing on,” Thorne said prior to the vote.
She also criticized the reparations task force for only researching the county’s actions up to 1980, saying that initiatives the county has done since 1980 should be factored into the study. Thorne also questioned what kind of message the reparations task force was sending to young people, reiterating how “divisive” she believes the concept to be.
Reparations for black descendants of slaves have seen an uptick in interest in recent years, with several states and cities looking into paying black residents for past harms. California’s reparations task force just released its report, recommending payments to black residents who suffered under alleged past discrimination. The California legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) will determine which recommendations, if any, from the task force are enacted.
Slavery, except as a punishment for a crime, has been illegal in the United States since the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1865.