A campaign in Albany to create the conditions for Black New Yorkers to receive reparations for slavery received support from Mayor Adams on Thursday, saying particular attention should be given to still-running businesses that benefited from slave labor.
“We need to hone in on some of those firms and companies that the foundation of their riches comes from slavery,” Adams added, without mentioning names.
“I have long supported this, and it is long overdue.”
Adams’ comments came amid a renewed campaign for legislation that would form a reparations study commission in the Empire State, akin to a statewide panel established in California in 2020.
The California Reparations Task Force is currently collaborating with a group of economic consultants on potential financial estimates related to the cost of slavery, the harms Black residents caused by mass incarceration, housing discrimination in the past, and other wrongdoings.
After being approved by the state Assembly last year, a similar bill that would have established an 11-member committee to look into potential reparations for Black New Yorkers stagnated in the state Senate.
Adams argued that Albany’s lawmakers should prioritize the redoubled effort.
According to Adams, we are who we are because of the free labor that this nation was founded on.
“That free labor decimated the base of African Americans who labored on plantations, made cotton the king, the tobacco business, and many financial companies — many of these industries are today because of it.
He continued, “The government must deal with it, and I fully support their actions.