(a) The General Assembly finds and declares:

(1) Approximately 4,000,000 Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States and the colonies that became the United States from 1619 to 1865.

(2) The institution of slavery was constitutionally and statutorily sanctioned by the United States from 1789 through 1865.

(3) The slavery that flourished in the United States constituted an immoral and inhumane deprivation of Africans' life, liberty, African citizenship rights, and cultural heritage and denied them the fruits of their own labor.

(4) A preponderance of scholarly, legal, and community evidentiary documentation, as well as popular culture markers, constitute the basis for inquiry into the ongoing effects of the institution of slavery and its legacy of persistent systemic structures of discrimination on living African Americans and society in the United States.

(5) Following the abolition of slavery, the U.S. government at the federal, state, and local level continued to perpetuate, condone, and often profit from practices that continued to brutalize and disadvantage African Americans, including sharecropping, convict leasing, Jim Crow laws, redlining, unequal education, and disproportionate treatment at the hands of the criminal justice system.

(6) As a result of the historic and continued discrimination, African Americans continue to suffer debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships, including:

(A) having nearly 1,000,000 black people incarcerated;

(B) an unemployment rate more than twice the current white unemployment rate; and

(C) an average of less than 1/16 of the wealth of white families, a disparity that has worsened, not improved, over time.


(b) It is the purpose of this chapter to establish a task force to:

(1) study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans as a result of:

(A) the institution of slavery, including both the transatlantic and domestic "trade" that existed from 1565 in colonial Florida and from 1619 through 1865 within the other colonies that became the United States, and that included the federal and state governments, that constitutionally and statutorily supported the institution of slavery;

(B) the de jure and de facto discrimination against freed slaves and their descendants from the end of the Civil War to the present, including economic, political, educational, and social discrimination;

(C) the lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery and the discrimination described in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection (b) on living African Americans and on society in Vermont and the United States;

(D) the manner in which instructional resources and technologies are being used to deny the inhumanity of slavery and the crime against humanity of people of African descent in Vermont and the United States;

(E) the role of Northern complicity in the Southern-based institution of slavery; and

(F) the direct benefits to societal institutions, public and private, including higher education, corporate, religious, and associational;

(2) recommend appropriate ways to educate the Vermont public of the task force's findings;

(3) recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the task force's findings on the matters described in this section; and

(4) submit to the General Assembly the study completed pursuant to section 5202 of this chapter, together with any recommendations.