Funding for the Fulton County Reparations Task Force has officially been approved. The Fulton County Board of Commissioners moved forward to include funding in the 2023 budget for the task force during a 4 to 3 vote during its January 18 meeting. The budget was approved for $250,000 after a preliminary cycle of research that was completed over the course of more than a year.
The Reparations Task Force serves as an advisory body to the Board of Commissioners to investigate and provide recommendations to the Board of Commissioners regarding priorities, objectives, and policies which will support the revitalization, preservation, and stabilization of the Black/African American population in Fulton County in the form of reparations.
“It’s a decision that shows that this county is not only aware, but cares about the work being done by the Reparations Task Force,” said District 5 Commissioner Marvin S. Arrington, Jr. “This is important work being done by volunteers who are all passionate about an issue facing every African American not only in Fulton County, but around this country.”
“It was a great victory to secure a majority vote from the Board of Commissioners granting $250,000 to perform an empirical-based study and a feasibility study,” said Task Force Advisory Board Chair Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado. “Qualitative and quantitative data will allow the Task Force to critically examine the ways slavery, Jim Crow, and Urban Renewal denied African Americans opportunities to acquire personal, political, and economic autonomy. Recommendations will be offered based on the empirical evidence. The feasibility study will demonstrate how Fulton County can support the recommendations made by the Task Force.”
Commissioner Arrington, along with several other Commissioners including Natalie Hall of District 4 and Khadijah Abdur-Rahman of District 5 have all come out as strong advocates for the Reparations Task Force. Established in 2021, the Task Force is comprised of 14 members.
“Considering this is the birth county, city, and state of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., prior to his assassination, reparations for slavery were one of Dr. King’s top priorities,” said Task Force Advisory Board Vice Chair Marcus Coleman. “With that understanding, Fulton County is on the right side of history for monetarily honoring the continuation of his work.”
“Researchers Olivia Reneau and John Wright were also instrumental in presenting case studies for the Task Force’s report,” said Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado. “The preliminary research examines slavery, the impact of eminent domain on residents of Bagley Park, and the history of convict labor camps throughout Fulton County. The research team has retrieved more than 4,600 documents thus far.”