Georgia County Approves Reparations Study Funding

Fulton County, home to Atlanta, Georgia approved a controversial funding package for a reparations study this week. The efforts in the Atlanta area also come as both the city of San Francisco and the state of California are each considering possible reparations plans.

The Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted 4-2, tasking both Fulton County and the Atlanta University Center to determine whether or not the county should consider reparations. 

The $210,000 effort was criticized by one of the members of the board. Commissioner Bridget Thorne (R) said that possible reparations were “such a divisive concept and I feel like it’s just gonna hurt Fulton County, it’s just gonna rip us apart.” 

The commissioner added that the county currently cannot afford a new jail or hospital, but was allocating funding for this project.

Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman (D) discussed the possible scope of the reparations. If they are justified, she asked, should reparations be “education, should it be financial? What should they be?”

Last month, one of the members of Fulton County’s Reparations Task Force, Mike Russell, said that the had been no country that he’s visited that “has taken such an effort to, in blood and treasure, correct past wrongs. And I’m very proud of that as an American.”

Russell added, “at some point, people have to just get past this issue, because in those other countries that I visited, there are still people fighting over stuff that happened a thousand years ago, and it makes absolutely no sense.”

However, the committee’s vice chair, Marcus Coleman, said that the task force was researching “everything out in extreme detail.” 

“Some of this information that we’re finding out, it’s hurtful, it’s harmful,” Coleman said. “It’s the destruction of families. It’s the destruction of generations.” 

The effort in Fulton County also comes as the state of California recently received a report from its own reparations panel about possible action. The task force did not recommend a firm set of numbers, but its own calculation estimated more than $1 million in potential societal damages to California’s Black residents.

California was not a slave state.