A task force set up by California Governor Gavin Newsom is urging the federal government to pay every African American in the US at least $223,000 for “housing discrimination” — while continuing to explore other areas for compensation.
The nine-member group believes black Americans should get the money for “putting up with the economic fallout” of racism and slavery — after initially making the suggestions in California.
It was brought about by Newsom’s legislation he signed into law in 2020 and is the largest recovery effort in recent memory.
California is the first state to require agencies to present a separate demographic category for descendants of enslaved people.
On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the task force has been traveling the West Coast for months to learn more about the effect of the policy.
According to a March 2022 report, those eligible for the reparations should be descendants of enslaved African Americans or of a “free black person who lived in the United States before the late 1800s.”
A task force set up by California Governor Gavin Newsom is urging the federal government to pay every African American in the US at least $223,000 for “housing discrimination” — while continuing to explore other areas for compensation
Kamilah Moore, a member of the group, has told the federal government they are not ‘off the hook’ in light of their findings
They claim the money is for housing discrimination practices used from 1933 to 1977 — and have 12 more categories to consider.
Members of the panel are calling on the federal government to address their concerns — a move that could cost billions.
Kamilah Moore, a member of the group, told KCRA 3, “For the federal government, I want to make it clear that while California is making history to atone for its damage to its African-American community, the federal government is not backing off the hook.
And reparations for African Americans or the American community of freedmen is primarily a federal responsibility.
“And so I hope this report is used not only as an educational resource, but also as an organizing tool used for executive action at the federal level.”
Discussions are still ongoing and the panel continues to consider how payments should be made – some suggested tuition and housing allowances, while others suggested cash.
After a task force meeting in September, Newsom vetoed a bill that would have extended its lifespan. Some countered that more time to deliberate would delay the payment of reparations
The task force was told by people living in Russell City how it was being bulldozed to make way for an industrial plant and residents were not being properly compensated
It has until June 2023 to submit its final recommendations to the legislature.
According to the panel’s findings, several black communities were bought out or seized through eminent domain to be bulldozed for infrastructure projects.
The group also recommends that the government pay compensation for racial terror, stolen culture, unequal education, housing segregation, stolen labor and climate change.
California has an estimated 2.6 million black residents, 2 million of whom are descendants of slaves and could therefore receive the reparations.
Newsom, who is thought to be considering throwing his hat in the ring for a presidential election, would see his state lose about $569 billion in compensation.
That’s more than California’s spending of $512.8 billion in 2021 — including funding for schools, hospitals, universities, highways, police and corrections.
An example of housing discrimination that the task force has considered is Russell City, a city that once existed near the San Francisco coastline. Pictured is a mural in what used to be Russell City
Ad for a reparations meeting posted by Kamilah V. Moore, Chairman, California Reparations Task Force
“We’re looking at reparations on a scale that’s the largest since Reconstruction,” task force member Jovan Scott Lewis, a professor at Berkeley, told the Times.
Any amounts for other subdivisions have yet to be decided, with Jovan Scott Lewis – another member of the group – adding: “We are looking at reparations on a scale that is the largest since Reconstruction.”
Speaking of the further chapters on how they’ve been affected, Moore added, “In each chapter there’s a state breakdown that speaks to the responsibility of the California state for perpetuating harm to the African American community.”
And then there’s also a nationwide breakdown in each chapter that clearly demonstrates the responsibility of the federal government in perpetuating harm to the African American community.
And in this report, we also have some preliminary recommendations, as our final report will not be presented to the legislature until July next year.
But yes, there are some preliminary recommendations that people can learn about, advocate for, and the state legislature can even start acting now.”
The task force hopes to narrow the wealth gap between white and black Californians.
Nationally, black households have a median wealth of $24,100, which pales in comparison to white households, where the median wealth is $188,200, according to the most recent Federal Reserve Board Survey of Consumer Finances.
Proposed reparations in California draft bill
- Estimate the amount black businesses have lost on property stolen or destroyed through ‘racial terror’ and distribute it back to black Californians
- Establishing a mandatory curriculum for all teachers to undergo anti-bias training
- Recruit black educators for K-12 schools
- Offer scholarships to black high school graduates to cover four years of undergraduate at an elective school
- Compensate individuals who have been forcibly evicted from their homes as a result of government actions, such as building parks and highways
- Create funding to invest in environmental infrastructure
- Create equal access to parks and national resources in black neighborhoods
- Compensate families who did not receive an inheritance they would have received if they were white
- Compensate those who have been discriminated against and deprived of rightful profits from artistic, creative, athletic and intellectual endeavors
- Raise the minimum wage in predominantly black industries, such as food and agriculture
- Demand scaling up of the minimum wage for skilled workers
- Create a fund to support black-owned businesses and eliminate licensing barriers that harm black workers
- Compensate people whose health has been permanently damaged by anti-black healthcare
- Implement policies to close California’s racial wealth gap
- Implement a clear and detailed program to help African Americans get reparations
- Establish a Bureau of African Americans/Freedmen Affairs to help document eligibility and prevent future harm
Source: California Attorney General Office