Two members of the reparations task force in Detroit said they would be stepping down on Saturday, The Detroit News reported, arguing that the group did not have a strategy and was suffering a “lack of progress.”
Lauren Hood, the task force co-chair, said she and Maurice Weeks were considering leaving the reparations task force for months, according to The Detroit News, and added that the group was “lacking a broad strategic vision.”
“I think, collectively, that group of people has different ideas about what reparations is fundamentally and we didn’t get to a place where we had a broad strategic vision,” Hood said, according to the outlet. “I’m happy that we’re now getting things done. We’ve got some partners who can help us organize existing information that will help make decisions, but we also still desperately need a strategy for how we engage the public around this work.”
A Michigan survey released in April from the University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study and the Center for Racial Justice found that 63% of Detroit residents support some form of reparations payment to “counter the lasting impacts of slavery and discriminatory policies.”
“We haven’t had a public meeting in a few months so the impetus was there just because we had a public opportunity to let folks know what was happening,” Hood said. “We had some concerns at the last meeting that we had and nothing really changed. So it’s just like, how long do you stay the course when you don’t see anything changing?”
Hood also said she hoped their decision to leave would help spark some needed activity in the areas that need the most work.
“Perhaps this is what needed to happen,” Hood said. “That we needed to make space for other people to be able to show up in their full capacity.”
Hood also argued that not everyone was on the same page.
“The work we do on ourselves, the work we do with each other as humans first is part of the process of repair internally that needs to happen before we try to design this thing, externally and citywide,” Hood added. “And it just didn’t seem like everybody was on the same page about that.”
During the task forces’ first meeting in April 2023, Hood promised that they would deliver much more than a monetary payout.
“We’re not talking about a one-time payout but a paradigm shift in the kinds of policies and practices that govern Black communities in Detroit,” she said.