The California body estimates that black residents are owed $569 billion in reparations

A California task force studying the long-term effects of slavery and systemic racism on black residents in the state has estimated that $569 billion in reparations is owed to the descendants of enslaved people, according to a report.

The nine-member panel concluded that black Californians whose ancestors lived in the United States in the 19th century are each entitled to $223,200 in housing-hunting discriminatory practices employed from 1933 to 1977, the New York Times reported.

The work of the Reparations Task Force, created by legislation signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020 — and the potential payouts — represent the largest reparations effort in recent history.

“We anticipate reparations on a scale that is the largest since Reconstruction,” Jovan Scott Lewis, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who is one of the nine members, told the Times.

The task force hopes to narrow the wealth gap between white and black Californians.

Nationwide, black households have a median wealth of $24,100, which pales in comparison to white households, where the median wealth is $188,200, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s most recent consumer finance survey, cited by the newspaper.

A history of housing discrimination against black Californians accounts for a significant portion of the compensation the panel recommends. According to the panel’s findings, several black communities have been bought out or confiscated by significant domains to be bulldozed for infrastructure projects.

Stack of books titled "California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for Interim Report of African Americans"
The task force is expected to release a proposal with recommended reparations by July 2023.

The government often offered black homeowners less money than what they paid to buy their homes, forcing them to leave, the Times reported.

In addition to housing discrimination, the panel has targeted four other areas of inquiry – mass incarceration, unjustified property confiscation, devaluation of black businesses and healthcare.

The Reparations Task Force will release a report with the final dollar amounts next year.

However, the nine members, who have been conducting interviews and collecting data for months, can only make recommendations to the state.

California lawmakers must decide what to do with these recommendations and whether to use political support and funding to distribute reparations to the descendants of black enslaved residents.

The panel also evaluates how redress could be made. Options include direct cash payments or tuition and housing benefits, according to the Times. The California body estimates that black residents are owed $569 billion in reparations


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