California Creates Task Force to Explore Paying Reparations for Slavery

By Shani Saxon Oct 02, 2020

On September 30, California became the first state in the United States to create a task force to consider and develop ways to provide reparations to the descendants of enslaved people, the Los Angeles Times reports. California governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed the bipartisan bill, which passed in the state senate 33-3 in August. 

Reports the Times:

The new law creates a task force to recommend appropriate remedies to the state legislature and determine who should be eligible to receive compensation, which advocates hope will become a model in a country where movements to make amends for centuries of slavery have failed to gain traction at the federal level.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), the author of AB 3121, said that this landmark racial justice legislation is long overdue. “California has come to terms with many of its issues, but it has yet to come to terms with its role in slavery,” she said. “We’re talking about really addressing the issues of justice and fairness in this country.”

Per the Times:

The task force, which comprises nine members to be appointed by the governor and legislative leaders, will conduct a sweeping examination of slavery in California and the United States and the lasting consequences of discrimination against freed slaves and their descendants. The group is expected to consider the ways in which slavery has benefited private and public institutions and led to lasting disparities related to wealth, education, employment, health and incarceration.

Shortly before signing the bill, Governor Newsom expressed his hope for the future. This bill, he said, is “proving a paradigm that we hope will be resonant all across the United States.”