Activist at California reparations meeting slams $223K proposed payments as ‘not enough’
One activist who took issue with the proposed $223,000 payments for black residents shouted out his displeasure during Friday’s California‘s Reparations Task Force meeting.
The comment came from Reverend Tony Pierce who voiced his dissatisfaction after California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber opened up the floor to the public.
‘And $200,000 is not enough! $223,000 is not enough,’ Rev. Pierce shouted out.
The nine task force members held the meeting in San Diego and welcomed guests for public comments to discuss California AB 3121, the bill signed by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom looking into reparations for black ctiziens.
The group is ‘studying the institution of slavery and its lingering negative effects on living African Americans, including descendants of persons enslaved in the United States and on society.’
The dissatisfied comments came after California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber opened up the floor to the public
Reverend Pierce was just one of numerous people to speak during the meeting held at San Diego State University on Friday.
Another activist during the meeting called for tax-exempt status, free college education, business and home grants and direct-cash payments for black residents.
Pierce, in addition to his comments regarding the amount that residents could see, slammed the residency requirement which has been discussed during previous meetings.
As of the 2022 census, 6.5 percent of California’s residents, roughly 2.5 million citizens, identify as black or African-American.
‘There should be no residency requirements for California! We have to encourage our people to come back to California! What better way to encourage our people to come back to California if we have no requirements?’ Pierce asked.
If the $223,000 payment were to be paid out to all 2.5 million black residents, the estimated total financial impact would be around $569 billion.
‘How will reparations be paid?’ Pierce asked as Weber told him that his time at the podium was up. ‘Immediately!’
‘There should be no residency requirements for California! We have to encourage our people to come back to California! What better way to encourage our people to come back to California if we have no requirements?’ Reverend Tony Pierce asked
The group will reconvene Saturday at San Diego State University for additional comment and discussion.
During the hearings, the task force members are assigned with listening to the testimony of witnesses and discussing their comments.
In December, an attendee at another task force meeting called for $350,000 per person.
Marcus Champion with the Civil Justice Association of California at the time called for the ‘direct cash payments, tax-exempt status, free college education, grants for homeownership, business grants, access to low to no business funding and capital.’
The task members have traveled the west coast speaking with community members about the idea of reparations and the setbacks the black community has endured
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation in 2020 launching the largest slavery reparations program in the country’s history
Kamilah Moore is chair of the California Reparations Task Force (left) and Dr. Amos C. Brown (right) is vice-chair seen here during a September reparations hearing
The proposed payments would be sent to black residents in connection to housing discrimination and ‘racial terror.’
Among the questions that are expected to be addressed are when prospective recipients’ ‘harm’ started, and how the ‘form of payment’ can properly align with the ‘estimates of damage.’
The housing discrimination under examination by the nine-member task force would have occurred between 1933 and 1977 in the state.
The task force is comprised of Chair Kamilah Moore, Vice Chair Dr. Amos C. Brown, San Diego Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe, California State Senator Steven Bradford, Dr. Cheryl Grills, Lisa Holder, Donald K. Tamaki, Jovan Scott Lewis, and Reginald Jones Sawyer.
Task force Chair Kamilah Moore has stated she plans to be as ‘radical as possible’ when it comes to deciding who will receive reparations and how much
California State Senator Steven Bradford (left) and Dr. Cheryl Grills (right)
Task force members Lisa Holder (left) and Donald K. Tamaki (right)
Task force members Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe (left) and Jovan Scott Lewis (right)
Reginald Jones Sawyer (left) and Reparations Task Force Vice Chair Dr. Amos C. Brown
Moore, who serves as Chair of the panel, has stated she plans to be as ‘radical as possible’ when it comes to her job.
Some of the major issues being discussed include the mass incarceration of black residents, unjust property seizures, devaluation of black businesses and health care.
‘We are looking at reparations on a scale that is the largest since Reconstruction,’ task force member Jovan Scott Lewis told the New York Times in 2022.
In 2022, the task force put together a 500-page document outlining why African Americans that are descendants of 19th century slaves were due ‘comprehensive reparations.’
At the time, the group said those eligible for the reparations would have to be descendants of enslaved African Americans or of a ‘free black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century.
The task members have also spoken with historians to get a sense of how reparations had been paid in previous circumstances, such as after World War II.
In September 2020 California Governor Gavin Newsom signs into law a bill that establishes a task force to come up with recommendations on how to give reparations to black Americans
While the formation and discussions led by the group have been applauded by many in the Golden State, others have called out the process and urged for more specifications on who should receive payments.
Josiah Williams, a member of American Redress Coalition of the California Bay Area, spoke at Friday’s meeting and called for targeting of the reparations.
‘I wanted to add that if there is anyone else who has their own claim, they can definitely write it up, get someone to champion it and I would support them in that effort,’ Willisams said. ‘But this is for a specific group of people.’
Weber, before opening up the floor, welcomed public comment saying the group is working with individuals to move the process along and end up in a positive situation.
‘And we will need every supporter in California and beyond to pull this off,’ said Weber.
People line up to speak during a reparations task force meeting at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco in April
‘We are looking at reparations on a scale that is the largest since Reconstruction,’ task force member Jovan Scott Lewis told the New York Times in 2022
One issue facing the proposed payments and often pointed out by opponents is California’s history with slavery.
The Golden State was admitted into the Union September 9, 1850 as a free state.
The payments are also a long shot and potentially years away.
‘Under AB 3121, any reparations program will need to be enacted by the Legislature and approved by the Governor. The Reparations Task Force’s role is to develop recommendations for future Legislative action. Therefore, at this time, there is no claims process,’ according to the State of California’s Department of Justice website.
Proposed reparations in California’s draft proposal
- Estimate the amount black businesses have lost in stolen or destroyed property through ‘racial terror’ and distribute it back to black Californians
- Adopt mandatory curriculum for all teachers to take anti-bias training
- Recruit black educators for K-12 schools
- Provide scholarships to black high school graduates to cover four years of undergraduate at a choice school
- Compensate individuals who were forcibly removed from their homes due to state action, such as park and highway constructions
- Create funding to invest in environmental infrastructure
- Create equal access to parks and national resources in black neighborhoods
- Compensate families who were denied inheritances they would have received if they were white
- Compensate those who have been discriminated and deprived of rightful profits from artistic, creative, athletics, and intellectual endeavors
- Raise the minimum wage in predominantly black industries, such as food and agricultural
- Require scaling up the minimum wage for experienced workers
- Create a fund to support black-owned businesses and eliminate licensure barriers that harm black workers
- Compensate people whose health has been permanently damaged by anti-black healthcare
- Implement policy to close the racial wealth gap in California
- Implement a clear and detailed program to help African Americans obtain reparations
- Establish an Office of African Americans/Freedmen Affairs to help document eligibility and prevent future harm
Source: California Attorney General Office
The latest meeting of the Reparations Task Force comes just weeks after it was reported that San Francisco city officials were considering shelling out billions to qualifying black residents.
DailyMail.com reported the city’s own reparations, which would be separate from the state, would be to pay back San Franciscans for ‘decades of harm they have experienced.’
To qualify, people need to have identified as black on public records for at least 10 years and be at least 18 years old.
They also must qualify for two of a number of requirements, including having been born in the city or migrated to it between 1940 and 1996 and then lived there for 13 years.
It is unclear exactly how many people would qualify should the proposal pass, but if just 10,000 people qualified it would cost at least $50billion.
The proposal will be submitted to Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission in June.
The proposal will be submitted to Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission in June
Who qualifies for $5million reparations
All qualifier must fulfill the following requirements at the time of enactment:
– Be at least 18 years-old
– Have identified as ‘Black/African American’ on public records for at least 10 years
All qualifiers must also fulfill two of the following requirements:
– Be born in the city between 1940 and 1996, and be able to provide proof of residency covering 13 years
– Have migrated to the city between 1940 and 1996, and be able to provide proof of residency covering 13 years
– Have been imprisoned during the War on Drugs campaign or be directly descended from somebody who was
– Have attended city public schools during desegregation
– Be a descendant of somebody who was enslaved in the United States before 1865
– Have been or are descended from somebody displaced during San Francisco’s Urban Renewal project between 1954 and 1973
– Have been or are descended from a Certificate of Preference holder
– Be a part of a marginalized demographic that experienced lending prejudice between 1937 and 1968, or experienced the effects of those practices between 1968 and 2008