TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A local resident told Tampa City Council members Thursday that every Black resident in the city is owed “at least $3 million in reparations.”
“All this nonsense y’all talk about — this nonsense homelessness, and all this other garbage y’all talk about, police violence and all this stuff — don’t nobody real care about that,” resident Tony Daniel said during his time allotted for public comment.
“We care about our reparations and we have to put white people on notice that we want our reparations,” he added. “Our fore-parents and us, we didn’t work for free and underpaid and all this nonsense and the white folks get away with it.”
Video of Daniel’s public comments trended on Twitter Friday.
“They talk about the great city they’re building. No! We want our reparations,” Daniel said. “Three million dollars per person — $3 million per person right here in this city, that’s the only thing Black people have got to care about. All this other little nonsense y’all talk about, we do not care about.”
The comments come amid a national push for reparations.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) recently unveiled a resolution urging the federal government to provide reparations to descendants of enslaved Africans and people of African descent.
Joined by Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.), Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Bush said the measure would support previously proposed legislation for reparations and back efforts at state and local levels.
“Black people in our country cannot wait any longer for our government to begin addressing each and every one of the extraordinary bits of harm it has caused since its founding,” Bush said.
In California, a state reparations task force is nearing the completion of a two-year study that is expected to deliver a hefty list of recommendations to lawmakers.
It’s uncertain, however, what lawmakers will do with the proposals, which include payments to descendants of enslaved people and a formal apology from the state.
A representative for the City of Tampa told WFLA.com there are no council members currently considering reparations.
The Associated Press reports that reparations proposals for African Americans date back to 1865, when Union General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered that newly freed people be given up to 40 acres (16 hectares) of land. That didn’t happen. In recent decades, Democratic lawmakers in Congress have tried to pass legislation to study federal reparations to no avail.
Racial wealth gap
The wealth gap between white and Black Americans widened significantly in recent years — and many argue money alone wouldn’t be enough to remedy the income inequality Black households face. According to 2021 data from the U.S. Federal Reserve, the average Black household earned about half of the average white one. Additionally, Black households had only about 15-20% as much net wealth as white households.
The COVID-19 pandemic also disproportionately affected Black Americans, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This included job loss, food insecurity and housing crises — effectively increasing the racial wealth gap even more. As data from the Center for American Progress reports, the pandemic also triggered debt for many Black Americans because they had less emergency savings to fall back on than white households.
As CAP explains, in 2020, while about 46.7% of unemployed white workers said they would be able to come up with $400 if an emergency arose, 65.2% of unemployed Black workers said they wouldn’t be able to find the money in an emergency.