HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — The point of reparations is to repair or making amends for a wrong-doing. Now, the City of High Point is looking into whether they need to do just that.
Monday, High Point city council members voted unanimously to create a committee dedicated to making amends with the Black community.
While NAACP leaders say it’s a push in the right direction, they fear the wording on what the committee will be called will stain their efforts.
It’s called the “One High Point Commission.”
NAACP leaders said the whole point of this committee is to address the wrong, and by not explicitly using “reparations” in the title, which some city leaders have opted not to use, you cannot expect people to grasp the true reason it exists.
“It’s not fair to ask me to work without that word being part of the process. We lose sight of that word, we lose sight of that mission,” said Jimmy Adams, president of the High Point Branch of the NAACP.
Discussions over reparations for Black people in America is a topic that has been sweeping the nation
It’s something the High Point branch of the NAACP has been working on for more than two years.
“We first have to acknowledge that something is broken, some people have been injured, that our community is fractured. So, the front part of reparations is this discussion,” said James Mayes, NAACP chair of the reparations committee.
The idea is to address a number of issues that have impacted Black people as a result of hundreds of years of slavery, segregation and racism.
“On the surface immediately, food, housing, education, employment. Equity across the employment scale,” Adams explained.
The committee will be dedicated to researching ways to help in these areas.
While the fate of the name of the committee is still up in the air, Councilman Wesley Hudson of Ward IV believes the title should have “reparations” in it.
“I think the word reparations is necessary,” Hudson said.
Hudson plans on joining the projected 13-member committee once it’s formed.
So, what kind of leaders and community members will serve on it?
“Someone who knows the city, someone who is visible that not only knows the citizens, but the citizens know them. And that has a good rapport with the community,” Hudson said.
While some community members may argue reparations aren’t needed for Blacks in America, Hudson has a different outlook as he admits he’s been a direct beneficiary of slavery.
“My message to the community is that in a period of 100 years, my family has gone from owning slaves to myself who sits on a city council that is trying to rectify the wrongs done 100 years ago,” Hudson said. “I want people to see there is hope. People change. Communities change.”
At no point will there be any cash handed out to individuals. Any money allocated to this matter will likely go to programming.
There’s still no clear direction on how it will be funded or where funds will be taken from. That’s something city leaders say will come after the formation of the committee.
City council will continue to discuss the matter up until its Oct. 18 meeting.
At that point, the NAACP and leaders will meet at the table to talk about what comes next for the formation of this committee.