Reparations proposal submitted to Legislature outlining claims back to 1850



(The Center Square) – The Final Report of the The California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans was released yesterday. It is the result of Assembly Bill 3121 which called for the formation of the group to study the impact slavery had on California’s African Americans and make recommendations for reparations. It took the Task Force two years to research and compile the history, methods and strategies outlined in the report.

The full report explains the methods and formulas developed to calculate monetary payments to eligible African Americans who are descendants of a chattel enslaved person, or descendants of a free Black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th Century.

“This final report decisively establishes that now is the time for California to acknowledge the state’s role in perpetuating these harms, and ensure that through a comprehensive approach to reparations, we commit ourselves to the healing and restoration of our African American residents,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said.

Highlights of the report include:

For Health Harms: $13,619. per claimant. “This would be the estimated value of health harm to each year of life an African American individual has spent in California, to which an eligible descendant would be entitled.”

For Mass Incarceration and Over Policing of African Americans: $2,352 per claimant for each year of residency in California during the period 1971-2020 . “African American residents in California who were incarcerated for the possession or distribution of substances now legal, such as cannabis, should additionally be able to seek particular compensation for their period of incarceration.”

For Housing Discrimination: $121,295. which is approximately the gap in California, in 2020, between African American and white homeownership. This figure represents” the cumulative effect of all sources of discrimination, individual level (home owners, real estate agents), corporate (banks and local zoning boards) as well as state and federal level (redlining)”

For Redlining: $3,378 for each year between 1933 and 1977 spent as a resident of the State of California.

Other areas of discrimination, the Task Force noted, were not as easily quantifiable some were given a formula for calculation, and some needed further study.

The report asserted that the War on Drugs caused “not only a massively disproportionate incarceration of African Americans, but also unemployment and housing displacement in many economically depressed African American communities,” and that the State of California was complicit in “its unwillingness to address occupational discrimination, as documented by its ban on affirmative action in public education and employment.”

Yesterday’s Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action, no doubt, impacts the legality of this particular claim.

Four specific recommendations for reparations were outlined by the report: (1) the appointment of an agency to process claims, (2) verification of residency for cumulative reparations compensation, (3) compensation for all five calculable areas of harm for all members of the eligible class and (4) that any reparations program include the payment of cash or its equivalent to members of the eligible class, and that the Legislature make a “down payment” with an immediate disbursement of a meaningful amount of funds to each member of the eligible class.

The harms specified in the report, and the period of time such harms were perpetrated included:

Health Harms from 1850-present Housing Discrimination from 1933-1977 or 1850-present Mass Incarceration & Over-policing from 1971-present Unjust Property Takings from 1850-presentDevaluation of African American Businesses: 1850-present

“For California to be a leader in the movement for true reparatory justice for African Americans, we must start with accountability. Our nation has for too long overlooked the atrocities visited upon African Americans or consigned them to vestiges of the past,” Bonta stated.

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