California reparations task force approves proposals for billions to Black residents

California reparations task force approves proposals for billions to Black residents

The California Reparations Task Force approved recommendations to compensate for the harms of slavery that could translate into billions to the state’s Black residents as the panel moved closer to presenting its historic report to the state legislature.

The nation’s first statewide reparations task force wrapped up voting late Saturday at its meeting at Mills College in Oakland, finalizing a lengthy list of recommendations for its final report to the legislature ahead of the July 1 deadline after two years of work.

“I think there comes a point in time that we got to be practitioners and we got to be social engineers and make sure that we deliver something to this Black population or else we never will do it,” said vice chairman Amos C. Brown at the meeting.

The task force is slated to meet once more on June 29 before handing over the published report, which is expected to exceed 1,000 pages and include historical accounts and loss estimates from race-based discrimination in areas such as health care, housing, education and law enforcement.

What the report does not deliver is a final figure on how much eligible Black residents should receive to compensate them for previous discriminatory policies. 

Any reparations redress, including cash payments to individuals, would have to be incorporated in legislation and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Even so, estimates on how many zeroes those checks could include have emerged in the media based on the panel’s economic analyses.

Eligible Black residents over the age of 71 who have lived their entire lives in California could be owed $1.2 million based on “calculations of losses,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle, citing a 34-page draft released last week that factors in housing discrimination, healthcare disparities, and “Mass incarceration & Over-policing.”

“Ultimately, the Task Force recommends that any reparations program include the payment of cash or its equivalent to members of the eligible class,” said the draft approved Saturday.

The analysis said the “conservative” estimates could grow as more research is done, and recommended that the legislature approve “a substantial initial down payment” for eligible recipients “to be followed with additional payments as new evidence becomes available.”

Compensation for the “war on drugs” alone would mean an average of $115,260 per Black resident for a total cost to the state of $228 billion, the report said.

The Associated Press estimated in March that the final figure could top $800 billion for a state whose entire annual budget is around $300 billion.

Task force member Jovan Scott Lewis warned Saturday that public interest in the bottom line will only increase as the deadline for the final report nears.

“Interview requests and published articles have focused on reparation compensation amounts in spite of the task force’s decision to not deliver a sum,” Mr. Lewis told the panel. “This is in particular to the recent media reporting on the reparations amount of $1.2 million. There’s been increased interest in getting task force members’ opinion on this amount and the rationale behind it.”

The panel posted several months ago a notice on the Department of Justice website debunking rumors that some Californians had already begun receiving payments, stressing that “at this time, there is no claims process.”

California was never a slave state, but the task force argued that the state “holds at least partial responsibility for a wide-ranging set of harms and atrocities inflicted upon African Americans” by, for example, enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act.

Eligibility for cash reparations would be based on lineage. 

Only Black Californians who can prove they are descendants of slaves or freed Black people living in the United States before the end of the 19th century would qualify.

The task force also recommended awarding “cumulative compensation” to Californians who lived in the state for at least six months during a relevant “period of harm.” In addition, Black residents who can show that they suffered “particular harms,” such as specific property losses, would be eligible for restitution.

The draft report also seeks the formation of a California American Freedman Affairs Agency to implement the recommendations and help with ancestry tracing.

Other proposals included a formal state apology for slavery; free college tuition for those eligible for reparations; and universal single-payer health coverage.

The report also called for the repeal of Proposition 209, the 1996 ballot measure that abolished government affirmative-action programs by banning race-based discrimination in employment, housing and education.

San Francisco also has a reparations committee that has suggested paying a budget-blowing $5 million to each eligible Black adult, providing a guaranteed annual income of $97,000, and eliminating personal debt.

Soruce :

Leave a comment

SMM Panel PDF Kitap indir