The Boston City Council Wednesday voted unanimously to establish a five-member task force to explore the issue of reparations for Black Bostonians.

The measure, which now goes before Mayor Michelle Wu for review, sets the stage for the city of Boston to participate in the growing national conversation about reparations: on how and who to compensate for the generational impacts of slavery and other racial traumas suffered by Black Americans.

At-Large Councilor Julia Mejia sponsored the ordinance, which was amended before its adoption at the council’s final meeting of the year.

“I feel incredibly overwhelmed,” she said, adding that the measure’s unanimous passage came as a surprise. “To be the lead sponsor of something like this, there’s a lot at stake — a lot of coalitions, the administration, council colleagues — and you have to juggle the needs of everyone, but I’m really happy and proud of the work that we were able to do to land here today.”

Mejia’s original proposal, which languished throughout the year, sought to establish a 15-member, independent commission with representatives from pre-selected community organizations occupying a third of the seats, and an explicit provision for payment for commission work time.

What passed Wednesday creates a smaller, five-member task force and leaves the issue of payment up to Wu.

Mejia said the changes call for an independent group that can explore the issue of reparations more nimbly than a larger body like the council.

Several amendments in Wednesday’s measure highlight a split within Boston’s Black community. On one side sit those who support reparations with a narrowly trained focus on the Black descendants of U.S. slaves, and on the other there are those who support more broadly defined reparations for Black people, including immigrants and descendants of immigrants.

The provisions for task force membership make a specific suggestion for the mayor to appoint “members who have a connection to and understanding of the descendants of formerly enslaved Black people in the United States.”

Kevin Peterson, founder of the non-profit New Democracy Coalition, was one of several dozen advocates at Wednesday’s meeting who felt conflicted about what the council passed.

“I'm not entirely satisfied with the with the task force, but it's something we can live with,” he told GBH News after the vote.

Peterson said he supports the task force maintaining a particular focus on Black descendants of U.S. slaves.

“I am in support of a national reparations movement ... and I'm certainly in support of an international reparations movement that would include the larger African diaspora in different countries,” Peterson said. “But there are a legacy of families in Boston who are directly connected to the slave trade, and we want to see that in locality justice come to those families.”

Aziza Robinson-Goodnight, another reparations advocate with New Democracy Coalition who supports a narrowly defined push for reparations, predicted the issue will continue to rise as a point of tension in the city’s reparations discussion.

“There was an illusion of us all moving towards a diaspora movement,” said Robinson-Goodnight, pointing to the measure's language change.

Mejia, who identifies as Afro-Latina and emigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic, declined to weigh in on the controversy, citing the future of Boston’s reparations task force.

“This conversation wasn’t about that. This was about establishing the task force so that [it] could do that work,” she said. “The task force is going to be commissioned to study the history, to identify the impact, to determine who. That’s not [the council’s] work.”

Wednesday’s final council meeting opened with a prayer and long message from Peterson, who took the rare step of speaking explicitly on an issue before the council.

“I’m deeply concerned about this issue,” he said of reparations before surrendering the dais at the urgence of Council President Ed Flynn. “Be supportive of this bill as we try to be a better city.”

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to GBH News’ request for comment on the task force legislation.