Friday, October 2, 2020

California To Study Reparations for Black Americans

 California will develop a detailed plan for reparations under a new law signed on Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, making it the first state to mandate a study of how it can make amends for its role in the oppression of Black people.

blAcKamericaweb.com

The law creates a nine-member task force to come up with proposals for how the state could provide reparations to Black Americans, what form those reparations might take and who would be eligible to receive them.

The law does not limit reparations to slavery, although it requires the task force to give special consideration for Black people who are descendants of slaves.

California never had a government-sanctioned system of slavery. It entered the Union in 1850 as a free state after gold was discovered in the Sierra Nevada mountains. But the state did let slave-owning whites bring their slaves to California. The Legislature even passed a law making it legal to arrest runaway slaves and return them to their owners.

The law does not say the reparations must be cash payments. Other options could include forgiving student loans and paying for public works projects or job training. In July, the City Council in Asheville, North Carolina, approved reparations by pledging to make investments in areas where Black people face disparities.

Reparations are not without precedent in the United States. The U.S. government partially funded German reparations to Holocaust victims following World War II. And in 1988, the federal government set up a reparations program for Japanese-Americans who were held in concentration camps during World War II.

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