California Board APPROVES Estimated $800B Reparations Package Proposal

The reparations task committee in California approved suggestions on how to pay reparations and provide an apology to Black citizens for years of suffering brought on by discriminatory laws on Saturday. A lengthy list of recommendations that will now be considered by state legislators for reparations legislation received final approval from the nine-member committee during a meeting in Oakland, which it initially convened almost two years ago.

At the conference, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, urged states and the federal government to implement reparations legislation. She is a co-sponsor of a measure in Congress that would investigate options for compensation for African Americans.

In addition to being ethically acceptable, Lee said that reparations had the capacity to solve enduring racial inequities and imbalances.

In its first decision, the panel authorized a comprehensive description of historical discrimination against Black Californians in a variety of contexts, including voting, housing, education, disproportionate police and imprisonment, and others.

Other suggestions on the table included calculating the amount of reparations the state owes descendants of slaves, as well as the establishment of a new organization to offer services to them.

"An apology and an admission of wrongdoing by itself is not going to be satisfactory," said Chris Lodgson, a reparations advocate with the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California.


The task force's recommended draft apology must "include a censure of the gravest barbarities" committed on the state's behalf.

Among them would be the denunciation of previous governor Peter Hardeman Burnett, a white nationalist who supported legislation that barred Black people from California and was the state's first elected governor.

The draft report states that California did not implement any laws to ensure everyone's freedom when it joined the union in 1850 as a "free" state. Contrarily, up to liberation, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the federal Fugitive Slave Act, which permitted the apprehension and return of fugitive slaves.

By taking part in these atrocities, California "further perpetuated the harms African Americans faced, imbuing racial prejudice throughout society through segregation, public and private discrimination, and unequal disbursement of state and federal funding," according to the statement.

The task team adopted a public apology that admitted the state was at fault for prior wrongdoing and vowed it would not happen again. It would be presented to those whose ancestors had been held as slaves.

California had already expressed regret for its role in the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II as well as for its treatment of Native Americans and violence against them.

The panel also agreed that qualified residents should get "cash or its equivalent" as part of their damages.

At Mills College of Northeastern University in Oakland, the home of the Black Panther Party, more than 100 locals and activists gathered. They were both angry about how the government had "broken promise" to provide newly liberated slaves with up to 40 acres and a mule.

Many people said that it is past time for governments to make up for the wrongs that have prevented African Americans from owning property, accumulating money, and living without fear of being wrongly imprisoned.

Elaine Brown, a former leader of the Black Panther Party, advised people to protest their grievances.

The task force meeting on Saturday was a turning point in the protracted struggle to hold local, state, and federal governments accountable for their discriminatory actions against African Americans. Though the suggestions are not yet ready for execution.

According to Roy L. Brooks, professor and reparations expert at the University of San Diego School of Law, "there's no way in the world that many of these recommendations are going to get through because of the inflationary impact."

According to some economist projections, the state may owe Black people reparations in excess of $800 billion, or more than 2.5 times its yearly budget.

The number in the task force's most recent draft report is much lower. Email and phone inquiries for comments on the decrease received no response from the organisation.

Former Democratic assemblywoman and current secretary of state Shirley Weber wrote the legislation establishing the task force in 2020 with an emphasis on the state's historical responsibility for harms done to African Americans, not as a replacement for any additional reparations that may come from the federal government.

Prior to this, the task committee decided to restrict reparations to the descendants of Black people who were residents of the nation at the turn of the 20th century, whether they were slaves or free.

As attempts to investigate and achieve reparations for African Americans abroad have met with varied success, the group's work has attracted attention on a national scale.

For instance, Evanston, a Chicago suburb, has provided housing vouchers to Black residents, albeit few have so far benefitted from the scheme.

In New York, the Assembly approved a measure acknowledging the inhumanity of slavery in the state and establishing a committee to look into potential reparations, but the Senate did not vote on it.

On a federal level, Congress has postponed a long-standing request to establish a commission to look into reparations for African Americans.

Kevin Jenkins, a councilman representing Oakland, called the efforts of the California task group "a powerful example" of what can happen when people come together.

Jenkins said, "I am convinced that with our combined efforts, we can make a big impact in achieving restitution in our wonderful state of California and eventually the nation.

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