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Detroit voters will decide next week if the city will form a Reparations Board

Instructions for a Montana primary ballot are displayed on May 27, 2020.
Amy Beth Hanson
Instructions for a Montana primary ballot are displayed on May 27, 2020.

Detroiters voting in next week’s General Election will see three proposals on the ballot. One of them, Prop R, asks if a reparations committee should be formed.

The committee would recommend actions to address the impact of housing and economic development policies that historically discriminated against Black Detroiters.

City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield introduced the resolution that put Proposal R on the ballot. She says its high time the city takes steps towards reparations.

“Detroit is a majority Black city, one of the Blackest cities in America, and this is a conversation that is happening in other cities, is happening on the federal level, and I think we should be a part of that conversation.”

If Proposal R passes, it’s unclear if it will encounter funding limitations based on language in the Michigan state constitution. The living document says the state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race.

Laura Herberg is a reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here. She won a Regional Murrow Award for best Hard News story (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio) in 2020 and she was named the Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter for radio broadcasting in 2020, 2018 and 2017. In 2012, she was awarded a SoundCloud Fellowship for her project, “Listen to Detroit.” She also is the creator of Complete Me, a podcast with only three episodes about how she has trouble completing tasks.