California to Unveil Groundbreaking Report on Slave Reparations
SAN FRANCISCO – California’s first African American Reparations Task Force will release a report Wednesday detailing the harms perpetuated by the state and recommending actions to address those harms, including expanding voter registration , making it easier to detain violent police, empower and improve black neighborhoods.
It also recommends the creation of a special office that would, in part, help African Americans who were descendants of free or enslaved blacks in the country in the late 19th century document their eligibility for financial restitution.
The 500-page report will be the first government-commissioned study of harm against the African-American community since the 1968 Kerner Commission report commissioned by then-President Lyndon Johnson, the chair of the committee said. working group, Kamilah Moore.
“I hope this report will be used not just as an educational tool, but as an organizing tool for people not just in California but across the United States to educate their communities,” she said, adding that the report also highlights “the contributions of African Americans.” community and how they made the United States what it is despite continued oppression and degradation.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation creating the task force in 2020, making California the only state to move forward with a study and plan. Cities and universities are taking over with the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Ill., becoming the first US city to offer reparations to black residents last year.
The task force voted in March to limit reparations to descendants, overruling reparations advocates who want to extend compensation to all black people in the United States.
The report, to be released by the state Department of Justice, marks half of the task force’s two-year work. The draft report does not provide a full reparations plan, which is to be submitted to lawmakers next year.
The report should explain how California supported slavery before it was technically abolished and oppressed black residents through discriminatory laws and practices in education, property, employment, and the courts.
African Americans make up nearly 6% of California’s population, but they are overrepresented in jails and jails. They made up nearly 9% of people living below the poverty line and accounted for 30% of homeless people in 2019, according to state figures.
Although a “free” state, about 1,500 enslaved African Americans lived in California in 1852, according to the draft report. The Ku Klux Klan flourished in California with members holding positions in law enforcement and city government. African-American families were forced to live in separate neighborhoods that were more likely to be polluted.
Moore said a state Office of African-American or American Freedmen’s Affairs could help African-American residents file claims and trace their lineage to prove their eligibility for individual restitution.
The task force in its draft report also recommends compensating people who have been evicted from their homes for construction projects such as parks and highways and general renovation, as happened in the Fillmore neighborhood. historically black and once thriving San Francisco.
“Other groups who have suffered exclusion, oppression and the outright destruction of human existence have received reparations, and we should have no less,” said Reverend Amos Brown, vice-president committee chairman and pastor of the Third Baptist Church in the Fillmore District.
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