California Reparations Task Force Approves List of Recommendations For Reperatations Legislation
Amid calls for the most populous US state to acknowledge its history of slavery. On Saturday, the California Reparations Task Force approved a hefty list of proposals that could go to state lawmakers to be considered for reparations legislation. The panel voted in Oakland to approve the recommendations. The conference covered topics from rewriting language in the state Constitution to compensating people denied profits for their work. It also went into updating standardized testing, removing racial bias, and investing in free community health care programs. Most importantly, it recommends paying victims of political disenfranchisement and apologizing for the crimes against African Americans.
The panel’s final report includes a detailed breakdown of losses and benefits for the state. Next week maybe when it will release. Economists estimate Black Californians may be owed more than $800 billion. The amount covers decades of over-policing, disproportionate incarceration, and housing discrimination.
Three Things To Know About This Figure
- The figure is more than 2.5 times the state’s $300 billion annual budget.
- It does not include a recommended $1 million per older Black resident for health disparities that have shortened their average life span.
- It does not compensate people for property unjustly taken by the government or devaluing Black businesses.
Other proposals approved by the task force include a public apology ‘for the state’s role in enabling slavery and other forms of white supremacy‘. The task force also endorsed an apology for racial discrimination by private and public entities, including a housing appraiser who undervalued a couple’s home and later sued. And the state’s incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and its violent treatment of Native Americans.
Many observers focus on the estimated dollar amounts that may be paid to victims. But some task force members express concern that too much attention is being placed on the numbers. Therefore, they want to shift the conversation to how the state can prevent future racial injustices. One of them, Assemblywoman Kamilah Moore, a Berkeley Democrat, argues that the state shouldn’t just pay monetary compensation for past harms. She says it should also offer training and education to address ongoing injustices. “If we just focus on a check, it’s not going to be enough,” she said. The state Legislature and Newsom will ultimately decide whether to implement the task force’s recommendations or pay out any cash payments.
The Legislature has a long track record of refusing to consider reparations. Just last year, a constitutional amendment outlawing involuntary servitude that was proposed.