SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- "If you're African American, chances are you are paying more for your mortgage on the same amount of money as somebody else. And that's not right!," says Reverend Tony Pierce.
He was one of the many speakers during two hours of public comment on day one of the California's Reparation Task Force two-day meeting in Sacramento.
The task force was formed in 2020 to determine possible reparations to Black Californians for the economic legacy of slavery and racism.
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California Attorney General Rob Bonta addressed the meeting as well.
"Getting the final report over the finish line is only the first step. After that, of course, the real work begins. And the DOJ is committed to internalizing and integrating what we've learn into our institution," says Bonta.
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The nine-member task force has been traveling the state to learn about generational impacts around issues like housing discrimination, over-policing and segregation. One preliminary estimate puts that cost at more than $800 billion - more than 2.5 time California's annual budget.
But attorney Terrence Evans contends that amount is not meant to be a price tag.
"It is not a suggestion that a check should be written for that amount of money," says Evans.
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Evans is a partner at Duane Morris LLP. He is also the Director of Region 9 of the National Bar Association and has advised the task force. As he explains, the $800 billion figure helps to better understand just how much these communities lost over hundreds of years.
"It just helps people understanding the magnitude of the damage that was done to these communities. And from there, we can have a conversation on what some of the solutions should look like," says Evans.
Economic analysis was a big part of Wednesday's presentation, such as determining eligibility, who may receive compensation first, and prescriptive analysis, such as how to measure "harm" done.
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"Pain and suffering comes in where that is a subjective perception on the part of the victimized groups. That, we as experts, can't necessarily, easily determine. But it is something the task could address," says Thomas Craemer, Ph.D., one of the economic experts advising the task force.
The group has until July 1 to establish more concrete figures regarding possible financial payouts. That is when they final report is due.
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