The resolution, which passed with unanimous support, additionally proposes a citywide apology for Burlington's role in the institution of slavery.
"The Burlington City Council on Monday passed a resolution to create a task force to to study reparations for American descendants of enslaved people. The resolution, which passed with unanimous support, additionally proposes a citywide apology for Burlington's role in the institution of slavery. Local residents, as well as state officials, chimed in during a public comment section of the City Council meeting to align their support with the reparations resolution. Last month, the city of Burlington declared racism a public health emergency, with over 30 Chittenden County organizations, including Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance, outlining their plans to address systemic issues across the city. The resolution follows previous national and state bills proposed to study and develop reparations for African Americans. H.R. 40 was first introduced by Michigan Rep. John Conyers to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989.
"Contrary to popular opinion, the Vermont constitution did not abolish slavery," said state representative Brian Cina, who introduced H.478 on behalf of the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance. H.478 was introduced to the Vermont Legislature early last year, similarly calling for a task force to "study and consider a State apology and proposal" for reparations. "[The state's Constitution] set limits on the terms of slavery and it continues to this day to allow slavery on certain circumstances." "Slavery existed in Vermont for the slaveholding elite who were above the law and slaves were held here in Vermont 60 years after the supposed abolition." No action has been taken for either H.R. 40 or H.478."
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