In three months, California’s reparations task force will submit its final recommendations for a massive reparations program to the state legislature, the largest attempt in U.S. history to compensate Black descendants enslaved people, according to a report from MarketWatch.
A 2020 state law established the nine-member task force to study and recommend a plan for the state’s reparations program. The task force recently held its final in-person meeting in Sacramento.
Expert witnesses discussed the implementation of recommendations at the meeting, including racial-justice activists, legal experts and a fiscal and policy analyst from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office. The panel reviewed and finalized answers to questions in five key areas in its proposal.
The task force recommendations will focus on property theft, devaluation of Black businesses, housing discrimination and homelessness, mass incarceration and over-policing and health harms.
Several questions about how the program will be implemented are still under consideration. The first is to determine the time frame of the alleged damages.
The second is how the task force will define eligibility requirements for California residents. How long potential recipients have lived in-state is one consideration, according to the task force report. The task force is still deciding whether previously identified lineage-based descendants will receive compensation or if reparations recipients will only include direct victims of slavery and racial segregation.
The task force proposed direct monetary compensation to applicants, statewide policies to revamp the education system, criminal-justice and healthcare reform.
Chris Burton, a San Franciscan who believes he may be eligible to receive reparations from the state, said he was cautiously optimistic about the program but worries some members of the public will fight it.
“I work in supposedly liberal San Francisco,” Burton said. “They were extremely mad when Colin Kaepernick was kneeling. Can you imagine how they would feel about having to give their money?”
Task force members have acknowledged some negative responses from members of the public, but the proposal has garnered broad support from a range of legal groups, including the Asian Law Caucus and several Asian-and Hispanic-American Bar Associations.
The final task force report may include a point-counterpoint list of public reactions to the program.