Boston mayor unveils reparations task force members - including TWO 11th graders trends now
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has unveiled the city's 10 reparations task force members, including two high schoolers and one college student.
The Boston City Council voted in December to establish a task force looking into the possibility of paying descendants of slaves, which was signed into law by Wu last month.
Under Boston's law, panel members will provide city council members with their final recommendations in June 2024 'for truth, reconciliation and reparations addressing the city of Boston's involvement with the African slave trade.'
The proposal has already sparked debate about whether monetary reparations should be paid exclusively to black Americans descended from slaves, WGHB reports, or whether it should include black immigrants who may have still suffered impacts of so-called systemic racism.
In creating the panel, Boston follows a similar effort in San Francisco, where task force members have proposed paying every longtime black resident $5million, as well as in the state of California, where task force members are proposing doling out $223,000 to all the descendants of slaves.
Boston's reparations task force will be chaired by attorney Joseph Fester Jr, a former president of the NAACP Boston branch and a current member of the city's Black Men and Boys Commission
It will also include high schoolers Damani Williams, left, and Denilson Fanfan, right
Boston's 10-member panel will be chaired by attorney Joseph Fester Jr, a former president of the NAACP Boston branch and a current member of the city's Black Men and Boys Commission.
That commission was established in 2021 to help advise the mayor and city council on 'issues pertaining to black men and boys,' according to the city's website.
It will also include two juniors at the Jeremiah E Burke High School, basketballers Denilson Fanfan and Damani Williams.
It is unclear what expertise the two high schoolers will provide, but a profile of the Jeremiah E Burke High School says it is located in 'one of Boston's most historically marginalized areas.'
'We enroll 390 students, most residing in high poverty, high crime neighborhoods within the Dorchester-Roxbury Grove Hall area,' it says, noting that the school deals 'head-on with issues of trust, cultural relevance, respect for traditions and diverse belief systems.
'Our students rely on teachers that can differentiate their instruction, provide culturally-relevant instruction and to create a trauma-sensitive learning environment.'
Also on the reparations task force is Carrie Mays, a University of Massachusetts Boston student who serves as a youth leader with Teen Empowerment.
Mays has previously made headlines when she rallied people to a Black Lives Matter protest in Boston following the death of George Floyd in June 2020. She created a livestream video, which was viewed over 3,000 times and was shared by more than 100 people.
At school, she has organized discussions about racism and has spoken at national conferences.
She is now a member of the Boston Community Action Team and was recently appointed a member of the Civilian Review Board of Police Accountability.
University of Massachusetts Boston student Carrie Mays (pictured) will also serve on the panel after rallying residents to a Black Lives Matter march following the police-involved killing of George Floyd in 2020
Others on the panel include L'Mercie Frazier, a public historian, visual activist and the executive director of creative and strategic partnerships for SPOKE Arts, left, and Na'tisha Mills, the program director at Embrace Boston, right
Panel members Dr. Kerri Greenidge and George 'Chip' Greenidge Jr. are pictured, left and right
Rounding out the task force are Dr. David Harris, the past managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, and Dorothea Jones, a longtime civic organizer
The panel also comprises business owners and academics, including L'Merchie Frazier, a public historian, visual activist and the executive director of creative and strategic partnerships for SPOKE Arts.
She was previously the director of Education and Interpretation for the Museum of African American History, Boston/Nantucket, and now provides 'diversity, equity and belonging' workshops for corporations and municipalities, according to her profile.