DETROIT, March 7, 2022 — State Reps. Cynthia A. Johnson (D-Detroit) and Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) held a press conference last weekend to discuss their reparations bill package and the importance of creating the Racial Equity and Reparations Fund Act in Michigan.

House Bills 567274 would allocate $1.5 billion for a racial equity and reparations fund through the Michigan Department of Treasury. The department would then use this fund to provide grants, loans, investments and other economic assistance for businesses and economic developments to promote Black communities across the state.

“We’ve left our small businesses, especially small businesses of color, to close up shop as we gave away billions in taxpayer dollars to large corporations,” said Johnson, sponsor of the legislative package. “Maybe that’s why in a city where 78% of the population is Black, only 10% of businesses are owned by Black people. There is a serious problem with that. The Racial Equity and Reparations Fund Act prioritizes minority-owned small businesses over the interests of corporations. It ensures everyone in our community has the tools they need to thrive in our economy.”

“The increasingly stark racial wealth gap is as old as our nation itself, and we’ve only seen it grow over the last few years,” Thanedar said. “As a small business owner, I know that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we should treat them that way. By investing in the communities that need it most, we can close the racial wealth gap and provide the tools underserved small businesses need to prosper.”