Since Saint Paul’s founding, African Americans have faced discrimination that has included redlining, racial covenants restricting the sale of real estate, the destruction of the Rondo residential neighborhood and business district. Disparities in homeownership, economic prosperity, education and healthcare resulted.
On Jan 13, 2021, City Council passed Res 21-77 in which Council apologized on behalf of the City of Saint Paul for the City's role in the institutional and structural racism that has denied Saint Paul’s African American community access to housing, jobs, education and health care.
The Council resolution also calls for the creation of a limited-term Legislative Advisory Committee which will work with the City's Administration to create a framework in the City's Codes for a permanent commission, to be known as the Saint Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission. The commission will be empowered to make short, medium and long-term recommendations to specifically address the creation of generational wealth for the American Descendants of Chattel Slavery and to boost economic mobility and opportunity in the Black community.
The Saint Paul City Council is currently reviewing applications for appointment to the Reparations Legislative Advisory Committee.
The Reparations Legislative Advisory Committee will be a limited-term committee which will meet for 1 year: July 2021 through June 2022. It will lay the groundwork for the establishment of the Saint Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission, which will be a permanent standing commission of the city.
Once established, the Saint Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission will recommend actions to address the creation of generational wealth for the American Descendants of Chattel Slavery and boost economic mobility and opportunity in the Black community.
The Council intends to establish the Legislative Advisory Committee with membership representing multiple perspectives, likely including K-12 education, post-secondary education, faith, community activism, business, labor and health, as well as seeking historians and economists. Both adult and youth members of the community are eligible to serve on the committee. Residency in the City of Saint Paul is not required, but is preferred.
Leadership and Staffing: The Council will select co-chairs to guide the work of the committee. The Council will also provide staff to support the committee’s activities.
Meeting Calendar: The Reparations Legislative Advisory Committee is anticipated to meet 1-2 times per month, beginning in July 2021. The committee will review and adopt a proposed workplan and schedule in July and August.
Meeting Location(s): Online via Microsoft Teams (subject to change)