California task force will consider paying reparations for slavery


California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill Wednesday that will establish a task force to study and develop proposals for paying reparations to the descendants of enslaved Black people.

Assembly Bill 3121 calls for a nine-member body to make recommendations on what type of compensation, if any, should be awarded and who should be eligible. In addition, the group can recommend to the state Legislature how California can offer a formal apology “for the perpetration of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants” and the elimination of state laws that disproportionately impact Black people.

“California has come to terms with many of its issues, but it has yet to come to terms with its role in slavery,” said Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a Democrat who authored the bill. “We’re talking about really addressing the issues of justice and fairness in this country that we have to address.”

The group will study the lingering effects of slavery to include how it benefited public and private institutions and may have contributed to racial disparities in incarceration, unemployment, wealth, housing, health care and education. The bill said 4 million African Americans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States from 1619 to 1865.

The late Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced slavery reparations legislation in the House each session for nearly three decades with no action taken. In 2019, Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, introduced a bill to establish a commission to study and develop reparations proposals. – READ MORE

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