California Task Force: Reparations Must Be Made

500-page report is hailed as a historic moment
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2022 12:43 AM CDT
California Task Force Calls for Slavery Reparations
People line up to speak during a reparations task force meeting at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco on April 13, 2022.   (AP Photo/Janie Har, File)

On Wednesday, a California task force released a 500-page report, two years in the making, on the state's historic role in harming Black Americans, from the days of slavery until now—and called for reparations to be made. California is now the first state to have moved forward with such a plan, though cities including Evanston, Illinois, have made reparations available to Black residents or are implementing plans to do so. Details, including who would be eligible for financial restitution and how much that might be, will be released in another report coming in July of next year, NPR reports. The committee has already voted to limit reparations to those whose ancestors lived in the US in the 19th century, the AP reports.

This report did, however, include recommendations including an official government apology, policing reforms, housing grants, and compensation for families forced out of their homes to make room for freeways, parks, and other state projects. It recommended incarcerated people be allowed to vote and Black people be actively recruited as K-12 teachers. And it included more general recommendations to address inequality, including a higher minimum wage, a requirement for paid time off and health benefits, and free college tuition. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation creating the task force in 2020, and similar efforts are in the works to report on the harms perpetuated against Native Americans by the state, with a task force expected by 2025. (See much more on the harms the report detailed here.)

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