Mayor Tishaura O. Jones appointed members of the City of St. Louis’ first Reparations Commission established by Executive Order in December 2022. The volunteer commission will analyze the history of race-based harms in the city and reveal the modern manifestations of injustice. Ultimately, the commission will offer recommendations for methods to develop and implement reparations for Black St. Louisans and the descendants of enslaved peoples.
“St. Louis has always been a leader on civil rights, and we have the unique opportunity to address the damage that decades of racism and disinvestment have done to Black neighborhoods across our City,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “The Commission’s work is essential as we acknowledge the history of racial injustice in our City, work to rectify them, and build a better, fairer St. Louis for every family.”
The Commission consists of nine members. All members live in the City of St. Louis, and represent different backgrounds, including civil rights advocates, clergy members, attorneys, academics, public health professionals, and youth. The appointments are as follows:
Will Ross, associate dean for Diversity at Washington University School of Medicine and professor of medicine in the Nephrology Division
Delesha N. George, program manager at Deaconess Foundation
Kayla Reed, co-founder and executive director of Action St. Louis
William Foster, city resident and external audit generalist at PriceWaterHouseCoopers
Gwen Moore, historian and curator of Urban Landscape and Community Identity
Kevin Anthony, bridge pastor at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ
David Cunningham, professor and chair of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis
Jada Brooks, a Communications student at Harris-Stowe University
Kimberly Hicks Franks, attorney, activist, and board member of Dutchtown South Community Corporation
“I am honored to be appointed by Mayor Tishaura Jones to the City’s Reparations Commission,” said newly sworn-in commissioner Delesha N. George. “I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners to promote restorative justice and identify opportunities to bring reparations to the people of St. Louis.”
Across St. Louis, residents are subjected to racial disparities in their neighborhoods. Studies show Black residents in the City of St. Louis are more likely than white residents to live in low-opportunity environments, in concentrated areas of poverty, and in areas with low access to healthy food. Also residents of majority Black neighborhoods are more likely to live in neighborhoods suffering from disinvestment.
St. Louis is one of many cities nationwide, including Mayor Jones joined the Mayors Organizing for Reparations and Equity (MORE) Coalition in 2021, an organization dedicated to analyzing best practices and approaches toward pursuing reparations initiatives. The administration’s Commission is its latest effort for advancing racial justice and addressing the toll racism has taken on Black neighborhoods by exploring opportunities to provide St. Louisans reparations at the local level.
The commission will hold its first meeting within 45 days.