City of Saint Paul reparations efforts move forward, community meetings set

The City of Saint Paul will hold four community meetings this month to share information on the work of its Reparations Legislative Advisory Committee. The committee is drafting ordinance proposals to present to the City Council on June 15, 2022.

Two of the community meetings will be held virtually. Two will be held in person. Dates and times below.

Virtual sessions
Co-hosted with the East Side Freedom Library
Register here

  • Thursday, April 7: 5 – 6 p.m. (on-line)
  • Friday, April 29: Noon – 1 p.m. (on-line)

In-Person Sessions
Registration Suggested

  • Thursday, April 14, Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center – Auditorium, 800 Conway St, Saint Paul, 6 – 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 21, Rondo Library – Multipurpose Room, 461 Dale Street N, Saint Paul, 6 – 7p.m.

According to the city’s website:

On Jan 13, 2021, City Council passed Resolution 21-77 in which Council apologized on behalf of the City of Saint Paul for the City’s role in the institutional and structural racism experienced by its residents. In addition, the resolution calls for the creation of a limited-term Legislative Advisory Committee to create a framework in the City’s Codes for a permanent commission, to be known as the Saint Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission. 

The Reparations Legislative Advisory Committee will meet for up to 1 year: July 2021 through June 2022. The committee will produce a written report for City Council no later than Friday, June 10, 2022 and will present its recommendations on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. 

The Advisory Committee will lay the groundwork for the establishment of the Saint Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission, which will be a permanent standing commission of the city. 

Once established, the Saint Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission will recommend actions to address the creation of generational wealth for the American Descendants of Chattel Slavery and boost economic mobility and opportunity in the Black community. 

For more background see Resolution 21-77: Committing to racial healing through the exploration of reparations for American descendants of Chattel Slavery Living in Saint Paul. It unanimously passed the City Council on Jan. 13, 2021.

Its language includes:

WHEREAS, in Saint Paul, systemic discrimination was perpetrated through redlining and racial covenants, access to housing, environmental injustice and the removal of Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood – the center of Saint Paul’s African American business, residential, spiritual and cultural life – for the construction of Interstate 94; and

WHEREAS, the pervasiveness of structural institutionalized racism in Saint Paul and all of American society has led to overwhelming black-white disparities in every area of endeavor, from housing to education and employment, business investment, economic prosperity, health and wellness, including life expectancy and infant mortality …

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of Saint Paul does affirm that there can be no further delay in engaging all of Saint Paul in a process of racial healing and righting these wrongs; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the City Council of Saint Paul, does herein apologize and commit to making amends for its participation in and sanctioning of institutional racism against the American descendants of chattel slavery; …

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