ST. LOUIS – The newly formed City of St. Louis Reparations Commission held its first public meeting at Harris-Stowe State University Monday night.

The commission was formed by St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and is tasked with identifying the results of slavery, segregation, and other race-based harms in St. Louis before ultimately making recommendations for how that harm should be repaired.

The nine-member commission will hold monthly meetings to hear from the public and experts before forming recommendations for Jones and the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to consider.

“What we will deliver will be a set of recommendations, and then it’s up to us as residents to organize our board of aldermen and the mayor to actualize those recommendations,” said Kayla Reed, chair of the St. Louis City Reparations Commission.

“This is a historic opportunity to really acknowledge the historic wrongs that have been evident in St. Louis for generations,” said Will Ross, vice chair of the St. Louis City Reparations Commission. “And really to talk about from the community’s perspective, how do we address, how do we reconcile that harm, and how do we come up with some way of actually expanding opportunities.”

Some of the public comments Monday included calls for analyzing a wide array of racism consequences.

“I really hope we talk about housing; I hope we talk about jobs; I hope we talk about the criminal legal system; and I hope we talk about homelessness,” said Blake Strode, a St. Louis resident and executive director of ArchCity Defenders.

Marvina Halton also spoke during the public comment session. She is a St. Louis resident and part of the American Descendants of Slavery Advocacy Foundation.

Halton supports the commission’s actions and believes reparations for the descendants of slaves should be nationwide.

“When it comes to reparations, it has to be a federal project,” Halton said.

Reed and Ross said public input will be critical to what ends up being part of the final report. The next public meeting is scheduled for May 22 at 6 p.m. at Harris-Stowe State University’s Emerson Performance Center.