Detroit Reparations Task Force members Maurice Weeks and Executive Committee Co-Chair Lauren Hood both announced their resignations over the weekend during the group’s first public meeting since August.
Detroit voters approved the creation of the task force in a 2021 ballot measure to recommend housing and economic development programs to account for historical discrimination against Black Detroiters.
At the meeting on Saturday, Hood told attendees she thought her skill set could be better used to help Detroiters somewhere other than the task force, adding that she’s not sure if the kind of healing her community needs should come from the political sector.
“A process whereby Black folks are designing or planning or thinking about what repair looks like should be a reparative process,” she said. “We should not harm each other in the process of figuring out how we repair harm to our people.”
Hood did not say specifically how she felt anyone had been harmed. She also said the committee has heard from experts on reparations, who advise compiling a report on what Black Detroiters have suffered from the city’s government.
“We have been working with the University of Michigan Center for Social Solutions and Poverty Solutions who are at no cost to us doing research on harms caused at the hand of the city on Black folks,” she said.
Weeks, the second member to resign, said he did not have the bandwidth to serve on the task force in its current form, adding that residents deserve a committee that operates professionally.
Detroit City Council President Mary Sheffield and Council Member Gabriela Santiago-Romero will each appoint a task force member to fill the vacancies.