The nine-member California Reparations Task Force is preparing to release a report to state lawmakers early next year outlining recommendations for state-level reparations.
The New York Times reported the task force has spent months traveling the state to learn about the generational effects of the state’s racist policies and discriminatory actions. The task force was convened by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020.
“We are looking at reparations on a scale that is the largest since Reconstruction,” Jovan Scott Lewis, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a member of the task force told The Times.
In its preliminary report, released on June 1, the task force outlined how enslaved Black men and women were forced into the state during the gold rush, but racially restrictive covenants and redlining segregated Black Californians in the state’s largest cities.
The task force has determined who is eligible for reparations in the state, saying descendants of enslaved African Americans or of “a free Black person living in the U.S. before the end of the 19th century.”
The group has determined five areas where compensation could be paid to Black Americans: housing discrimination, mass incarceration, unjust property seizures, healthcare, and the devaluation of Black business.
The panel is now considering how the reparations will be distributed, including housing, tuition, and small business grants,
Although the task force’s creation and its report are viewed by many as a bold first step towards reparations, it remains unclear if state lawmakers will follow through on the recommendations, which are likely to require billions of dollars from the state.
National Review reports Black California residents could be eligible for up to $223,200 per person as part of an effort to redress historical housing discrimination. Meanwhile, The New York Post reported the task force has estimated $569 billion is owed in reparations to Black residents.