California Reparations Task Force Recommends Down Payments
The California Reparations Task Force is nearing the end. On July 1, the task force was created by state legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020. It will finish its study into if and what kind of reparations are to be given to Black California residents.
The task has already decided several things, such as deciding whether any reparations should go to Black residents who can prove slave ancestry. On May 1, it published a 500-plus page report, which included a number of recommendations.
Recommendations included were that the state apologize and issue “down payments” to Black residents as a way to make amends for slavery and discrimination, although the state explicitly outlawed slavery when it joined the Union in 1850, Fox News reported.
While the report does not contain an overall price tag for reparations, it does include ways the state could calculate how much money African Americans in California have lost since 1850, when the state was established, through today due to certain government practices.
The loss estimates, which depend on the type of racial harm and how long a person has lived in California, ranging from $2,300 per person per year of residence for the over-policing of Black communities to $77,000 total per person for Black-owned business losses and devaluations over the years, Cal Matters reported.
“It is critical that we compensate, but not just compensate. We also need to evaluate policy that continues to hold us back,” said Monica Montgomery Steppe, a San Diego city council member who is on the task force, at a “listening session” in San Diego on April 30.
A new state agency would oversee the reparations program, and that would determine eligibility and distribute funds, according to the report. The agency also would be tasked with helping individuals document and provide evidence for specific injustices. The task force will meet again on May 6. The meeting will be live-streamed.
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