My view: Oregon would not be the first to offer reparations
Much precedent has been set in the United States by federal, state and municipal governments, as well as universities in offering financial compensation of past thefts and abuses. Some examples of financial reparations include:
• The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which offered $20,000 to every Japanese "internment camp" survivor.
• Florida, Oklahoma, Virginia and Kentucky have offered reparations for racial wrongdoings.
• Both North Carolina and Virginia have paid reparations for inflicting forced sterilizations.
• The city of Chicago has paid reparations for torture at the hands of their police.
• The United Methodist Church of Wallowa, Oregon, returned land and lake access to the Nez Perce Tribe.
• Society of the Sacred Heart in Louisiana, Virginia Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary and Georgetown University all created reparation funds for African Americans as an apology and in honor of the enslaved people who built, and labored at, their schools.
• Evanston, Illinois allocated $10 million in marijuana tax revenue for reparations to Black residents or their descendants who experienced housing discrimination (e.g., redlining).
• The Duwanish Tribe in Washington has established a "Real Rent" program that offers the opportunity for residents to pay rent for the use of land to the tribes who were displaced.
Learn more about U.S. reparations
For more information about reparations in the United States, see the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries' detailed timeline: "An Historical Timeline of Reparations Payments Made From 1783 through 2022 by the United States Government, States, Cities, Religious Institutions, Universities, Corporations, and Communities."
Robin Quirke is the research director of the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center, an independent and nonpartisan statewide opinion research organization. Quirke also co-directed the landmark study, Finding Common Ground in a Divided Culture. They live in Eugene.
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