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Final reparations task force report calls for payments, apology for Black Californians

A reparations rally
Fibonacci Blue
Creative Commons
In 2020, around 300 people rallied outside Minnesota's capitol to demand reparations from the United States.

At a meeting in Oakland on Saturday, the reparations task force voted to approve its recommendations. It plans to send them to the state legislature this summer.

Last year, the task force said only descendants of free and enslaved African Americans, who were in the United States in the 19th century, would be eligible to receive the direct payments. According to one economist, that’s nearly 80% of California’s 2.6 million Black residents. But the exact dollar amount owed to individuals would vary.

Using formulas in the final report, CalMatters calculated that a 19-year-old who moved to California in 2018 could be owed around $150,000, while a 71-year-old who never lived outside of the state could be owed about $1.2 million.

When distributing payments, the report says, elderly residents should be given priority.

In addition to formally apologizing to Black residents, the task force recommends a list of state policy changes designed to counteract discrimination. Those include ending forced labor practices in prisons and adopting a K-12 Black studies curriculum.

San Francisco has also convened a reparations advisory committee, which is due to issue its final proposal in June.

Originally from Chicago, I’ve lived in San Francisco for the past 20 years and am a veteran reporter and communicator. I was most recently editorial director for Activate, a nonprofit that empowers science entrepreneurs to bring their research to market. Prior to that I spent a dozen years as an independent reporter whose beats included climate, energy, microplastics, technology, and recreation. I’ve written for Outside, The Guardian, Al Jazeera America, and many other publications, and in 2014 co-founded a reader-supported experiment in journalism, called Climate Confidential. I had a brief stint in radio during college and can’t wait to learn the craft of audio storytelling.