The State of California is one step closer to paying reparations to Black residents whose ancestry goes back to the American slave trade.
The California Reparations Task Force released estimates, as well as breakdowns of the methodology used to determine the amounts, on Monday ahead of a critical vote that will take place later this week.
The possible payments reflect the work of economists who advised the task force and who were asked to estimate the total financial losses suffered by Black Californians impacted by slavery and institutional racism.
As outlined by the San Francisco Chronicle, an eligible resident who lived in California their whole life and was 71 or older could, in theory, receive as much as $1.2 million.
If approved, the task force would urge that the money begin to be disbursed in the form of “down payments,” according to CalMatters.
A new state agency would need to be established to distribute funds and determine eligibility, CalMatters writes. That agency would also help Black Californians trace their lineage to confirm that they are eligible for the payments.
Those who qualify could receive various payments to compensate for the injustices of “over-policing” of Black communities, discrimination in housing, and inequity in the health care system, CalMatters wrote.
Each of those categories includes a maximum payment based on specific timeframes. For instance, a Black Californian who lived in the state between 1971 and 2020 could receive as much as $2,352 per year due to “over-policing.”
Additionally, the task force may also recommend for the State of California to formally apologize for slavery, as well as state laws and actions that members say actively discriminated against Black residents, including enforcement of the federal fugitive slave law, prohibition of interracial marriage, the construction of monuments that glorify the Confederacy, as well as open segregation and discriminations in the arts.
The task force will meet Saturday at Mills College in Oakland to vote on the proposals. If able to come to an agreement, a formal proposal would be drafted and eventually sent to the California legislature to be voted upon.
The proposals would likely face strong opposition from Republican lawmakers, and some moderate Democrats, the Chronicle suggests.
The California Reparations Task Force was established in September 2020 following the passage of State Assembly Bill 3121, which cleared the way for the state to evaluate the financial impact of slavery on Black residents and determine the best means to repay those who have had been adversely affected by American slavery, which has had long-lasting reverberations for more than 150 years after it ended.