A sign saying the “Urban Renewal” project in the Lakeland community in the 1960s. [File photo]

At this week’s meeting, the City Council discussed a proposal to form a restorative justice commission to study what happened in College Park’s Lakeland community back in 1960′ as part of the “Urban Renewal” project and find possible restorative justice to address those issues.

Back on February 9, 2021, the City Council approved creating the Restorative Justice Steering Committee in response to Council resolution denouncing the systematic racism, which called for a restorative justice process to address the harms caused to the Lakeland community by the City, particularly during the urban renewal process in the 1960s.

The Resolution stated that the City acknowledges and apologizes for its past history of oppression, particularly regarding the Lakeland community, actively seeks opportunities for accountability and truth-telling about past injustice, and aggressively seeks opportunities for restorative justice.

On April 13, 2021, the City Council appointed eight members to the Restorative Justice Steering Committee (RJSC), which is recommending establishing a Restorative Justice Commission.

Within the next 5 years after its establishment, the committee would deliver the following

  • Records of historical race-based adverse actions and harm caused, and that of truth-telling
  • Community engagement process that consistently solicits input and feedback from current, former, and future members of the broader Lakeland community
  • Concrete restorative measures, which to the extent possible, correct the race-based harms from the City and its partners impacting the African American community of College Park, Maryland
  • An active memorial space sited in Lakeland, the historic African American community of College Park, to house the historic record and serve as a place of recognition and celebration for the City’s cultures and history.

The City has allocated $100,000.00 for the start of the Restorative Justice Commission’s budget in FY 2022.

The Council will formally form the commission and appoint the committee members at a future Council meeting.