California Reparations Panel Approves Apology for Slavery, Compensation Payments Destined to Run into Billions
California’s reparations task force voted Saturday to approve a report with instructions detailing state financial compensation for slavery alongside a formal apology.
The nine-member committee, which first convened nearly two years ago, gave final approval at a meeting in Oakland to a hefty list of proposals that now go to state lawmakers to consider for reparations legislation, AP reports.
U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, who is cosponsoring a bill in Congress to study restitution proposals, used the meeting to issue a call for states and the federal government to pass reparations legislation.
The demand follows others made previously by lobby groups insisting on payments for the misdeeds of previous generations and the “righting of historical wrongs.”
“Reparations are not only morally justifiable, but they have the potential to address longstanding racial disparities and inequalities,” Lee said.
The panel’s first vote approved a detailed account of historical discrimination in areas such as voting, housing, education, disproportionate policing and incarceration and others, the AP report set out.
The creation of a new agency to provide services to descendants of enslaved people to calculations on what the state owes them in compensation were also laid out for further debate.
People listen to the California reparations task force, a nine-member committee studying restitution proposals for African Americans, at a meeting at Lesser Hall in Mills College at Northeastern University in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, May 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Sophie Austin)
“An apology and an admission of wrongdoing just by itself is not going to be satisfactory,” said Chris Lodgson, an organizer with the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California, a reparations advocacy group.
An apology crafted by lawmakers must “include a censure of the gravest barbarities” carried out on behalf of the state, according to the draft recommendation approved by the task force.
As Breitbart News reported, calls for reparations started in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement.
The slavery reparation panel had been tasked with figuring out exactly how much California — which joined the Union as a free state in 1850 — owes its black residents, with estimates previously rising as high as $800 billion, nearly three times the state’s total annual budget.