New Jersey examines reparations as Tri-State commemorates Juneteenth

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Monday, June 19, 2023
New Jersey examines reparations as Tri-State commemorates Juneteenth
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People across the nation and the Tri-State marked Juneteenth with celebrations and observances as NJ considers reparations.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- People across the nation and the Tri-State marked Juneteenth with celebrations and observances on Monday.

In New Jersey, lawmakers commemorated the fall of slavery by discussing plans to study reparations.

The New Jersey Institute of Social Justice announced the launch of its Reparations Council, which will study what can be done in the state to repair the lasting impacts of slavery.

It will also hold public hearings and consider the possibility of payments to descendants of slaves.

Many speakers said housing discrimination, poor urban schools and police brutality are modern-day forms of Black enslavement.

The announcement in Perth Amboy came at the site where the first boats of enslaved Africans docked in New Jersey.

"This is not a radical concept, in fact others have done it around the country, from Florida to California they have done research and found out specific cases, once they did the research, formed a commission, looked at the issues and found wait a minute, here is the family that was stolen land, we saw this recently in shorefront property in California, let us make restitution, let us repair the damage that was done," Sen. Cory Booker said.

WATCH: Dads celebrate Juneteenth and Father's Day with their children in Brooklyn

Meanwhile in Lower Manhattan, a memorial service was held at an African burial ground where Roosevelt André Credit sang the Black National Anthem during the service.

It's the oldest and largest known excavated burial ground in North America for both free and enslaved Americans.

"Today on Juneteenth, we commemorate the emancipation of enslaved Africans and their descendants in this country, and honor the history of the Black community," Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement. "Let us recommit ourselves towards the fight for racial justice and equity and continue to build a future free from racism, discrimination, and hatred."

Derick Waller has more on the events for the holiday that are being held throughout the Tri-State area on Monday.

The governor announced that 14 state landmarks will be illuminated red, black, and green on Monday in celebration of Juneteenth:

- One World Trade Center

- Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge

- Kosciuszko Bridge

- The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building

- State Education Building

- Alfred E. Smith State Office Building

- Empire State Plaza

- State Fairgrounds - Main Gate & Expo Center

- Niagara Falls

- Albany International Airport Gateway

- Lake Placid Olympic Center

- MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station

- Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal

- Moynihan Train Hall

Juneteenth, June 19, 1865, marks the day emancipated slaves in Galveston, Texas, finally found out they were free, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

RELATED: Opal Lee, 'grandmother of Juneteenth,' featured in WABC-TV special on the holiday


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