John Wiley Price_Dallas Comm

Here’s today’s example of why you should always read the fine print before you sign on the dotted line.

Commissioner John Wiley Price of Dallas County – and Dallas County’s only Black commissioner – submitted a “Juneteenth Resolution” at the Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday night. Price’s resolution was about more than just commemorating and recognizing Juneteenth (a traditional “holiday” in Texas commemorating the emancipation of enslaved Blacks in Texas years after the Civil War had ended), however. Besides the titular subject, Commissioner Price had added a few things to his resolution, citing a list of injustices done against Blacks in the United States. The resolution’s final paragraph stated that the suffering of African-Americans should be “satisfied with monetary and substantial reparations.”

The resolution was approved by voice vote unanimously on Tuesday evening. Shortly afterwards, many of the commissioners at the meeting admitted that they hadn’t read the document or received a copy of the resolution before casting their votes. This, in spite of the fact that Wiley had read the resolution aloud for all who were willing to listen.

Commissioner Wiley said that he was inspired to write the resolution after reading journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article in The Atlantic magazine that made a “case” for reparations. “We are the only (ethnic group) who haven’t been compensated for past mistreatment,” Wiley told The Dallas Morning News.

The lone Republican on the Court, Commissioner Mike Cantrell, later changed his vote to an abstention. However, none of the other commissioners changed their votes, meaning that the resolution will stand as Dallas County’s official position on both Juneteenth and reparations. Being that the resolution is non-binding, however, no tax dollars will be devoted to paying out reparations. While the literal pay-off may not happen, the metaphorical payoff of knowing that it ALMOST DID is certainly worth relishing.