SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A proposal to establish a task force to study and prepare recommendations for how to give reparations to African Americans passed the California Assembly on Thursday.
The bill advanced with a 56-5 vote as protests nationwide over police brutality re-energized the movement for racial justice and activists pressed for sweeping reforms. It is a top priority for California’s Legislative Black Caucus.READ MORE: Caldor Fire Containment Sits At 76%; More Evacuations Downgraded
If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, eight people with backgrounds in racial justice reforms would lead a study into who would be eligible for compensation and how it should be awarded.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a Democrat from San Diego who wrote the bill, said the study would reiterate California’s history of abetting slavery, even as it joined the union as a “free state” in 1850.
“The discriminatory practices of the past echo into the everyday lives of today’s Californians,” said Weber, who leads the Legislative Black Caucus.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming?
The panel would start meeting no later than June 2021
Congress last June held the first hearing on reparations in over a decade about a bill to study providing compensation to atone for the country’s history of slavery. But the legislation did not make it to a vote.
The federal government has given reparations before. After 120,000 Japanese Americans were held at internment camps during World War II, the U.S. government apologized and in 1988 paid $20,000 to each surviving victim.
“We seem to recognize that justice requires that those who have been treated unjustly need the means to make themselves whole again,” Weber said.MORE NEWS: California-Grown Cannabis To Be Judged At Next State Fair
Another priority of California’s Legislative Black Caucus passed Wednesday when lawmakers approved a proposal to repeal California’s affirmative action ban, passed the Assembly. Voters will decide on the measure in November if the Senate approves the bill by June 25.