Black History Month: Seeking reparatory justice in South Bend

Black History Month: Seeking reparatory justice in South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Thursday is the first day of Black History Month. In South Bend, 2024 will be the first full year the city has a Reparatory Justice Commission in full swing.

President of the South Bend Common Council, Sharon McBride, is responsible for passing the ordinance that formed the Reparatory Justice Commission and appointing its 14 members.

"We're just excited that now this is the time that we are being intentional to really look at hard data, and then put some action behind it," McBride said.

The commission's task over the next 18 months is to come back to common council with recommendations to make South Bend a more equitable city.

"They're set out to explore what are some of the harms that have happened historically, and then what are some of the remedies we can take as a city," Mayor James Mueller said.

"Not just anything that's going to take a few months to look at, but to really have some content and context when they come back to the council," McBride said.

Mueller said Reparatory Justice is already happening in the city when city resources are distributed equitably.

"Something that you may not think of as reparations exactly, but we made a commitment, for example, in neighborhood infrastructure," Mueller said. "A lot of our infrastructure backlog, a lot of it had built up in neighborhoods that haven't seen investment in a long time."

The commission is also broken up into several committees dedicated to looking into various areas of concern, like housing, employment, etc.

"And reparations are not just about money, that a lot of people have a misconception," McBride said. "But it's a lot of things that the black and brown communities have suffered from, as far as housing, redlining, economic social status, class, education."

Thursday's meeting covered a lot of housekeeping, as the commission plans to meet monthly. They actively encourage the public to participate in public forums, the first being February 17. More details to come as they become available.

Share this article: