Leaders in a North Texas county passed a resolution this week supporting reparations to African-Americans for slavery – without even realizing they had done so.
Dallas County commissioners unanimously passed a Juneteenth resolution on Tuesday that appeared to be another routine proclamation commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. But the resolution went further by including a list of injustices, and then stating in the final paragraph that blacks’ suffering should be “satisfied with monetary and substantial reparations.”
Commissioners admitted afterward they hadn’t read the resolution before voting, according to The Dallas Morning News. About an hour after their vote, commissioners complained they hadn’t received copies of the resolution beforehand.
The meeting agenda made no specific mention of reparations, but the resolution was read aloud by John Wiley Price, who introduced the measure and is the commission’s only black member.
The vote is nonbinding, so no reparations – through payments or other means – will be made.
Price said he wrote the resolution after reading an article making the case for reparations. He noted that American Indians and Japanese-Americans are among the groups that have received compensation for past mistreatment.
“We are the only people who haven’t been compensated,” Price said.
Other commissioners didn’t debate the merits of reparations, and instead expressed frustration at not seeing the resolution before the vote.
“I am leaving my vote the way it is,” County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “This is the body’s expression of support for unity towards people, a recognition of Juneteenth.”
He later added, “I want to encourage staff to make sure that all of the commissioners have the opportunity to actually read what they are voting on before that vote in the future.”