A California state task force has recommended the state compensate African Americans it forcibly evicted from their homes. California must also remove barriers preventing black citizens with criminal records gaining employment. And finally, the document released June 1, 2021 calls for an end to restrictions diluting back votes.
This Is a First-In-A-Nation Achievement
California officials describe the report as a first-in-a-nation achievement. The initial draft came out a year ago. This set a task team to work cataloguing the trail of discrimination affecting African Americans in California, and across the nation.
The task team is now developing concrete proposals for specific reparations, prior to submission to state legislature by July 1, 2023. However, it is already evident the document will lodge cutting evidence of systemic racism throughout the country, and in California too.
A Hard-Hitting Report Lays Discrimination Bare
The task force makes a strong case for educational, political, environmental, and educational damage done to African Americans for generations. The 500-page document recommends a tranche of ways to make good, and repair the harm inflicted by discrimination across all aspects of society.
The State of California Was No Innocent Bystander
California Attorney General Rob Bonta told Daily News “California was not a passive actor in perpetuating these harms. This interim report is a historic step by the State of California to acknowledge the insidious effects of slavery and ongoing systemic discrimination, recognize the state’s failings, and move toward rectifying the harm.”
A No-Nonsense Report Two Years in the Making
The project first saw light over two years ago, when Secretary of State Shirley Weber introduced State Assembly Bill 3121 to create the task force in February 2020. However, at that time she was still a state assemblywoman. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Bill into law that September, after all processes were complete.
The delay in completion was not without its traumatic moments. George Floyd’s sadistic murder that May ignited a flood of protests that elicited a storm of racist responses. Many California cities, including Long Beach declared a health crisis, while others focused on reforming their law enforcement policies.
California Commits to Being the First to Redress
California takes the honor of being the first U.S. state to do something to attempt to repair the human damage. But other cities and states are also working hard to catch up. Meanwhile California is collecting testimonies from citizens concerning their personal experiences.
Some Hard-Hitting Recommendations in The Report
- People in prison should not have to work. However, if they do so willingly they should receive fair, market-related pay.
- A cabinet-level secretary position should oversee an African American agency managing deep engagement within the black community.
- Funds must be available to support affordable housing and wealth building, via black community-based land trusts.
However, California has yet to decide how it will deal with decades of slavery, inflicted on African Americans during the formative years of the nation.
Author: Richard Farrell (Dark Matters)