Race-based universal basic income payments are starting to gain steam in the U.S. as a form of reparation.
Last week, Marin County in California approved payments of $1,000 a month to 125 qualifying residents for two years in partnership with the Marin Community Foundation. In New York, Rochester’s mayor has also suggested leveraging revenues from marijuana legalization to pay reparations to Black and Brown residents.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren on Thursday sent a letter to a Latino-focused nonprofit requesting it to join her administration on an exploratory committee to look into the issue. Warren suggested utilizing a universal basic income (UBI) or home ownership program for assisting certain communities.
“Beyond changing policies and procedures, we must do more to close the wealth gap between Black and Brown people and our White residents,” Warren said in the letter to the Ibero-American Action League. “With marijuana legalization on the horizon in New York, we have an opportunity we never had before to bring real resources to bear to uplift our families and improve, not just their financial wellbeing, but their very future.”
Lovely A. Warren, mayor of Rochester, during a news conference on Sept. 3, 2020. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Marin County is contributing $400,000 to its program, with the remainder of the estimated $3 million coming from the Marin Community Foundation.
The program is slightly modeled after a similar one that ran from February 2019 to February 2020 in Stockton, California. The Marin County program, however, has a couple of conditions for residents to receive payments: recipients must be women of color and have a child under the age of 18.
When asked by Fox News for comment on the program and whether or not the Marin Community Foundation believed the program was discriminatory, foundation president and CEO Thomas Peters said that this “initial program” is directed at women of color who carry a “double-weighted burden in their path to self-sufficiency.”
He also said the reason to target women of color specifically was “not for any reason of exclusion, but because we are laser-focused on an area of greatest need.”
“Our pilot program is the next phase in a research study we conducted last year focused on low-income Moms who are struggling to care for their families and better their educational and economic standing. No surprise but still quite dismaying, we found that the women who are grappling with the most serious difficulties of all are Moms of color, who face not only financial challenges but the daily imposition of overt and covert discrimination,” said Peters.
Warren’s letter comes after last week’s report by the Commission on Racial and Structural Equity, which argued that racism is “deeply embedded in the culture and practices of Rochester and Monroe County.”
The report acknowledged that it found hardly any laws in the city and county “which created and sustained racist policies.”
However, the commission added they had found “practices and conditions where diversity of race, ethnicity and gender are nearly non-existent; where people of color are unable to fully participate and are implicitly or explicitly excluded from opportunities that could enhance their economic, social and mental health; and where people of color are denied the opportunity to participate in the rule-making and decision-making that shapes our lives, from birth to death.”
According to Warren’s letter, the exploratory committee would review UBI and reparation pilot programs in other cities. It specifically mentions Evanston, Illinois, and Oakland, California, both of which are pursuing monetary assistance for Black families. In Oakland, the payments consist of $500 in monthly payments for 18 months to 600 families who are Black, indigenous, or people of color.
Mayor Warren’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Houston Keene contributed to this report.