Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that George Soros’ Open Society Foundations had expressed interest in financing a local reparations program.
The comments came on the same day Garcetti announced the formation of the L.A. Reparations Advisory Commission to develop what the outlet called “a pilot reparations program targeted at a cohort of Black Angelenos.”
In an interview with the Times, Garcetti said Soros’ international grantmaking network was one of “many” private entities that might be willing to fund such an endeavor. He went on to say he hoped banks and corporations would step up “to begin to make some amends and to push this movement forward.” Garcetti said providing the funding would be a way “to reckon with a complicity that we saw in American capitalism, slavery and post-slavery racism.”
The Times article said, “Exactly who would benefit from a local reparations program and how any financial compensation would be made are details the commission would have to decide.”
More from The L.A. Times:
Commission members, which were named by Garcetti and Black City Council members, include Michael Lawson, a former ambassador and head of the Los Angeles Urban League; Khansa Jones-Muhammad, co-chair of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants; Mandla Kayise, an expert on economic and land use development; Cheryl Harris, a leading scholar of critical race theory and systemic discrimination at UCLA School of Law; Dr. Katrina VanderWoude, president of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College; Charisse Bremond-Weaver, president chief executive of Brotherhood Crusade; and Mark Wilson, founding executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Community Development.
Garcetti said the L.A. advisory commission will not look at “all racism” but will “look specifically at reparations around where laws held back” Black Angelenos’ ability to build wealth.
Garcetti also announced the creation of the National Coalition of Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity. The 11 mayors from cities including Denver, Austin, Texas, St. Paul, Minn., and Sacramento committed to establishing advisory commissions in their own cities that would also probe making pilot programs.
Join me live for the launch of the national Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE), the largest-ever coalition of mayors committing to lead reparations pilots, targeted to Black Americans in our cities.https://t.co/danY5Ixd9C
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) June 18, 2021
Garcetti’s announcements came a day after President Joe Biden signed a bill into law establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
During a virtual press conference on Friday with mayors of other cities who have committed to lead reparations pilot programs, Garcetti said, “to address racism in America, America has to address racism.”
“This year has shown us in some of the starkest possible terms that while America is a land of opportunity for some, it remains a place of injustice, inequality, and indignity for too many of our black brothers and sisters,” he continued. “It remains unequal for the descendants of those who were forced onto slave ships, uprooted from their lives, uprooted from their loves, stripped of their humanity and their dignity and their rights.”
Garcetti said pilot programs in cities would be a model for the federal government.
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