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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 calculatedthat 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.

Mary Catherine O’Connor is a radio and print reporter whose beats include climate change, energy, material circularity, waste, technology, and recreation. She was a 2022-23 Audio Academy Fellow at KALW . She has reported for leading publications including Outside, The Guardian, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America, and many trade magazines. In 2014 she co-founded a reader-supported experiment in journalism, called Climate Confidential.