A California task force on Tuesday voted to limit reparations to black families whose ancestors lived in the United States in the 19th century, drawing criticism from others who support compensation regardless of ancestry.
The task force voted 5 to 4 after hours of debate that became heated at times. A proposal with recommendations is expected to be released by July 2023 before it can go to the state legislature for a vote.
Lisa Holder, a task force member and civil rights advocate, said the task force should continue to listen to public opinion while working with economists to come up with a plan.
“We have to strengthen the base, and that’s the black people,” she said. “We cannot go into this reparations proposal without getting all African Americans in California behind us.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation two years ago to give “special consideration” to black Americans who are direct descendants of enslaved people.
Reparations could include help buying homes and starting businesses, grants to churches and organizations, and free college tuition.
However, after Tuesday’s vote, some black Californians – such as immigrants from East and West Africa and the Caribbean – would not be eligible for the compensation. That means only a fraction of the state’s 2.6 million black residents could benefit from the proposal.
While black residents make up about 6.5 percent of California’s population, according to U.S. Census data, black men make up nearly 30 percent of the state’s prison inmates.
The task force must also come and approve a plan for black Californians to prove their ancestry.
California Rep. Reginald Jones-Sawyer, who voted against restricting eligibility, said there was no question that descendants of slaves had priority. He said the task force must also prevent future harm from racism and begin discussing how to close the severe wealth gap, according to the Associated Press.
Jones-Sawyer added he wished the panel would stop “arguing” about money it doesn’t already have.
“We’re arguing about cash payments, which I firmly believe aren’t the be-all and end-all,” he said.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/31/task-force-on-slavery-reparations-vote-to-limit/ California Task Force voted 5-4 to limit black families on slavery reparations