California’s Reparations Task Force will meet in Sacramento on March 3 and 4 to continue finalizing their recommendations to the state. The committee, made up of nine lawmakers, attorneys and academics, will be focusing this next meeting on looking at who could qualify and the logistics of implementing a reparations program.
“The task force will continue its work in this critical time that we're in. We'll also be continuing the work as a nine member task force in terms of debating and discussing and even potentially determining what these final recommendations will be,” Kamilah Moore, chairperson of the task force said in an earlier interview with CapRadio.
Main items to be addressed at the upcoming meeting will be hearing from local leaders about the kinds of reparations that have taken place at the municipal level and looking to answer questions around how the state will define eligibility to receive reparations.
There will also be an ongoing discussion about how much, if anything, the state could pay eligible residents as part of monetary compensation. However, Moore has said this form of reparation is not the main focus of the task force.
“I know there's been a lot of numbers [around reparations payments] out in the media, but the task force has not made any final recommendations in terms of monetary compensation. We are discussing what the potential proposals might be, mainly around non-compensatory recommendations,” Moore said.
Specific ideas already floated by the committee include different ways the state can increase funding to schools serving predominantly Black students, creating a Freedman’s Bureau to help Black Californians determine their ancestral history and proposing a Black Studies curriculum for schools.
Martin Boston, an assistant professor of African Studies at Sacramento State said he’s glad that the state is taking a hand in addressing the legacy of slavery.
“This is a country of inheritance, we inherit literally buildings and money from past relatives,” Boston said. “And because so many people were unable to inherit, there are huge wealth and other kinds of social gaps that exist in this country that need to be remedied.”
He said he will be watching to see how state legislators take the recommendations from the task force, as there is no legal obligation that any of the recommendations are actually signed into law.
“California has done things that I did not think were possible,” Boston said, adding that he felt that many of the task force’s recommendations were non-monetary in nature. “In that way I think it’s very possible that a lot of these recommendations could happen. There’s absolutely the funding for it to be done for the things that cost money, though not all would.”
He added that some recommendations, like changing language referring to slavery in state documents would be easy fixes.
“Not everything is about a check, the majority is about repair for institutional forms of oppression,” he added.
The reparations task force will meet at the California Environmental Protection Agency, in the Byron Sher Auditorium. The panel is due to release its final recommendations in July.
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