In Council News, Jamie Gauthier, Kendra Brooks, News by Jamie Gauthier

PHILADELPHIA – Today, Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District), Minority Leader Kendra Brooks (At-Large), and their City Council colleagues announced members of the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force.

“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. “The Philadelphia Reparations Task Force will address American slavery’s lingering impact on the Black community.”

After the announcement, the task force officially convened for the first time and hosted a public listening session. Philadelphians from across the city came to City Hall to share their perspective on reparations with the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force.

“We see the lasting impact of racism in all corners of our city, and we know that cycles of poverty and violence will continue to repeat themselves until we address the root causes of harm in our communities, from lack of housing to underfunded schools,” said Minority Leader Kendra Brooks (At-Large). “I am grateful for the many Philadelphians who applied to serve on the Reparations Task Force and to the nine members who are being sworn in today. Your work is to examine these root causes of that harm so that we can chart a path toward healing and liberation.”

This event marked the formal launch of the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force, which studies and develops reparations proposals and programs for Black Philadelphians whose ancestors endured chattel slavery and Jim Crow in the United States.

Breanna Moore, Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force, said, “we’re ready to get to work with the launch of our new task force and let the work speak for itself.”

“A nation of God’s children have been prosecuted for walking in the truth of who and what they are for too long. The Philadelphia Reparations Task Force is for that nation of people to realize our harmony and be free in it. I encourage this kindred family to join us in driving freedom forward and remembering our origin and divinity,” said Philadelphia Reparations Task Force Co-Chair Rashaun Williams.

Cara McClellan, the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force’s Criminal Justice Coordinator, said, “”Philadelphia is the city where American democracy was established. Unfortunately, Philadelphia is also shaped by the legacy of slavery and its afterlife, including mass incarceration, redlining, and educational apartheid. The work of reparations in Philadelphia is therefore critical to ensuring truth, reconciliation and the repair of democratic principles.”

Task Force Law & Policy Coordinator Jackie Newsome said, “I am honored to join the Reparations Task Force as the Law and Policy Coordinator.”

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 Philadelphians in real time.

There are nine members of the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force, all of whom serve in a volunteer capacity:

·         Rashaun Williams, Co-Chair

·         Breanna Williams, Co-Chair

·         Ayanna Stephens, MSEd, Education Coordinator

·         Kevin Mansa, Economic Justice Coordinator

·         Jourdyn Lawrence, PhD, MSPH, Health & Wellness Coordinator

·         Cara McClellan, Esq, Criminal Justice Coordinator

·         Jackie Newsome, Esq, M.Div., Law & Policy Coordinator

·         Dominique London, MS, Urban Planning & Sustainable Development

·         Richard White, Atlantic World History Coordinator

The seven coordinators each lead a committee focused on a different topic. Philadelphians can get involved with the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force by volunteering for one of its committees. To learn more and apply, residents can visit rep215.com or phlcouncil.com/reparations.

The Philadelphia Reparations Task Force plans to host additional meetings and public engagements in the future.

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Visit rep215.com to learn more about the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force.


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