Newsom’s Reparations Task Force Advises Payments to Black Residents

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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law requiring the task force to recommend reparations for slavery in October 2020. Its suggestions are even more extreme than anyone could have imagined.

The task force’s report is now being sent to the state Legislature, where it will act as a manual for lawmakers to decide how to implement its advice, the first of which is for the state to formally apologize for slavery.

Less straightforward is the billions of dollars in cash payments the report urges while the state faces a budget deficit.

“I’m optimistic that they’ll take a look at our proposals and engage in a good faith effort to implement them,” said Kamilah Moore, the task force’s chair.

Breaking Down the Reparations

The task force defined eligibility as being “determined by an individual being an African American descendant of a chattel enslaved person or the descendant of a free black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century.”

It recommends the state create a California American Freedman Affairs Agency to implement reparations and include a “genealogy branch” to provide “access to expert genealogical research to confirm reparations eligibility.”

Economists on the panel broke down “areas of monetary losses” into three categories: health disparities, African American mass incarceration and over-policing, and housing discrimination.

The amount received would hinge on the number of years an eligible resident has lived in the state, and all eligible residents would receive money without needing to provide proof they were harmed in each category.

For health disparities, $13,619 per year would be awarded. For mass incarceration and over policing, $2,352 per year would be awarded. For housing discrimination, $3,366 per year would be awarded.

The report also specifies a long list of further policies needed to “guarantee restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and non-repetition”, including rent caps, free college tuition, and a guaranteed income.

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