This is platform plank zero because it underpins and suffuses everything else that will be proposed and discussed. Plank Zero is the context. It was summarized in Minneapolis People for Liberation and Solidarity (MPLS):
Reimagine Minneapolis as Ground Zero – all over again. This time for the wave of healing and reparations. Acknowledgement and back-pay for Native people from whom this land was stolen and for Blacks enslaved to build a nation for the benefit of those that held them in bondage with shackles so enduring that their descendants still feel their weight, every day.Minneapolis People for Liberation and Solidarity (MPLS) – Campaign 2021
While it is true that one city cannot atone for the racism embedded in the history of the entire nation, it is imperative that we do our part. Minneapolis is emblematic of many cities and towns in Minnesota because so many of us have been sweeping the racist, genocidal aspects of our history under the rug and out of mind for centuries. A large part of the MPLS initiative is to pull up that rug and examine all the stuff that empowered white people have hidden from ourselves. I say “ourselves” because I am an empowered white man, and let’s face it, the human beings we have oppressed historically, and still do today, are quite aware of what is swept away. They got the scars to prove it and the stories to confirm it. Understand that riot and looting are the voice of the unheard and then, listen. Close your mouth and open your ears. Train your eyes, do not avert them.
It is a loaded word, reparations. That is precisely why I used it. It also happens to quite accurately reflects the essence of the MPLS initiative to renew Minneapolis and restore public trust. I do not know what reparations means to those whom they are owed. I will not pretend that I do. I do know that if I were a city government official, I would use my position to find out, and let the rest of the city know, too. I know too, that a sustainable city requires a solid, diverse foundation. In Minneapolis this means respecting those people and organizations that have risen to meet the challenges of police and community violence, pandemic Covid 19, an invigorated far Right white nationalist terror campaign, and the selective cases of Blue Flu in MPD. Particularly organizations run by and for Black, Indigenous, and other chronically devalued communities. I haven’t done any feasibility studies or polls, but I’m pretty sure that a Council Member with half a mind to do so, could put together a series of public forums and workshops to gather enough information to set the context for discussing how to repair and move toward healing. Maybe we won’t even have to wait for an election or a term on the City Council.