CA Reparations Task force focuses on key issues over possible compensation

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Thursday, December 15, 2022
CA Reparations Task force focuses on key issues over compensation
California Reparations Task Force met in Oakland to discuss areas of harm for descendants of enslaved Black people that should be compensated.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- For more than a year, California's Reparation Task Force has been examining the research and data. Now it's time to focus on some big decisions.

"September's meeting in L.A. and today's meeting in Oakland, characterized a development stage. Now, we are not really looking for folks to provide personal and expert testimony," says Kamilah Moore.

Moore is the chair of the nine-member task force, which is undertaking the nation's most ambitious attempt to compensate for the economic legacy of slavery and systematic racism.

According to Moore, over the next two days at their meeting in Oakland, they'll be examining major takeaways from previous reporting and research by the experts on the key issues that will be part of their final report.

MORE: California's Reparation Taskforce tackles racial wealth gap

"It is important to get this right because we are setting the precedent for other states and localities, and also for the federal government as well," explains Moore.

Five key issues discussed on Wednesday focused on areas of harm for which California should compensate. Those include: property taken by eminent domain, devaluation of Black businesses, housing discrimination and homelessness, incarceration and over-policing of Black communities, and harm to people's health.

Oakland City Councilmember Carrol Fife believes housing is big issue.

"Homelessness is off the charts in California. And that's part because there have been populations, particular Black Americans, who have barred from access to housing," says Fife.

One issue that has been determined is around eligibility. Moore says eligibility will be based on lineage - not by race. That means those who are descendants of former slaves or descendants of free Black people who were living in the U.S. prior to 1900.

MORE: Bay Area activist reflects on decades-long fight as CA, SF explore reparations for slavery

"So the community of eligibility has been settled. That was settled in March. Now, we have to determine what are the residency requirements? What are the damage time frames?" says Moore.

Previously, a team of economists suggested paying upwards of $223,000 per person as compensation. But Moore insists that that number was just a higher-end estimate, and nothing more.

"We are still in the development stage. And our final recommendations, including monetary figures, will not be released until the end of the task force," says More.

No final decisions are expected from this meeting in Oakland. The task force's deadline is July 1, when they will represent the final report to the California state legislature. The final report has to meet international standards of human rights and international law.

"And I have always said, where goes California, so goes the nation. I am hoping that this will be a really strong indicator of the work that needs to be done across this country," says California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta, whose district includes parts of the Bay Area.

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