Story at a glance

  • Following Black Lives Matter protests decrying racial injustice, California lawmakers are advancing two bills that will attempt to economically mobilize Black Americans.
  • One of the bills will set up a task force to review how reparations can benefit Black citizens who are descendents of slaves.

California state legislators further advanced a bill this month that would create a task force to study and develop the possibility of reparations to its Black residents. 

Fundamentally, reparations would allow compensation to Black Americans who are descendants of slaves on the basis of subsequent marginalization and economic disenfranchisement.  

The bill, AB-3121, builds on existing legislation that requires California state legislation to form a coalition to study the economic benefits slavery gave to slave owners and make recommend to legislators regarding adopting compensation and reparations. 


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The task force would contain nine members. The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, and it received 52-9 approval from other Assembly members, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

California legislators also sent a bill to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) that would require corporations in The Golden State to increase diversity of leadership boards beginning next year.

Newsom has until Sept. 30 to sign the measure. Should the bill go into effect and become law, corporations are subject to fines if they don’t have a sufficiently representative board of directors.

Both of these legislative initiatives come at a pivotal time in the U.S., as a renewed Black Lives Matter movement — sparked by police killings and shootings of Black Americans — have forced a racial reckoning in the country, and the coronavirus pandemic is further exposing racial inequalities in industries like health care, jobs and housing. 

“Every incident brings me back to the same spot,” Weber said in a statement to press. “This country has taught itself to hate African Americans and to deny the history that has brought us here.”

Any idea developed and voiced by members of the task force on reparations would go to the state Legislature for a vote by June 2022.

“Apology is important,” Weber said. “So are an accurate and public account of the violations along with commemoration and redress to those harmed.”


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Published on Aug 31, 2020