Updated: Jan 5
A new law was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, aimed at making reparations to Black Americans. This legislation marks the first state-wide reparations mandate in the U.S.
“This is not just about California; this is about making an impact and a dent across the rest of the country,” Newsom said after singing the bill.
Under the new law, a nine-person team will be created that will work on developing a proposal as to how reparations can be offered to Black residents. Moreover, this task force will also decide the form of reparations as well as the eligibility criteria.
It is also reported that the reparation process is not just related to slavery, although it does focus on providing special consideration to Black people who are descendants of slaves. While California became a part of the Union in 1850 as a free state, it permitted white slave owners from other states to enter California with their slaves. Moreover, a law was also passed permitting police to arrest escaped slaves and return them to white owners.
“California has come to terms with many of these issues, but it has yet to come to terms with its role in slavery,” Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who wrote the bill, said.
Reparations may be in the form of cash payments, forgiven student loans, public work projects or job training initiatives. Five members will be appointed to the task force by Gov. Newsom, and the other four members will be appointed by leaders of the state Senate and Assembly. According to the law, at least two people on the team must come from “major civil society and reparations organizations” and one individual has to be a civil rights expert or scholar.
Within a year of its first meeting, the task force will issue its reparations proposal to the state Legislature.