A preliminary list of suggestions from a California task team could serve as a roadmap for reparations for African-Americans across the country, including free college tuition for all African-American high school graduates and the right to vote for inmates.
In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom established the state’s Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals to investigate possible reparations for descendants of early African migrants. According to the Associated Press, the Task Force delivered a 492-page study on reparations proposals on Wednesday.
Forcible labor and bodies were used to build the cornerstone of American riches, according to the seminal report, “constructed by trafficked African people and their descendants”. American government at all levels allowed or helped to profit from enslaving and torturing African-Americans so that a majority of white Americans could do so.
According to the interim assessment, African-Americans who came to America before the 20th century were subjected to an appalling level of racial prejudice. These people and their descendants were used as an economic advantage by the United States because of the country’s long history of racial oppression, as is detailed in this report.
The paper notes that California still plays a role in discrimination in professional sectors, healthcare, education, housing, and home ownership, the environment, incarceration, legal and political institutions, and police brutality.
The task committee issued a long range of new suggestions it claimed were vital to closing the racial disparity gap due to the influence of white supremacy on so many aspects of life.
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Modern “slavery in California,” or the criminal system, spawned several proposals from the task panel. Individuals detained should not lose their citizenship status, be paid a “fair market rate” for their labor, receive mental health treatment, and be able to preserve trauma-free connections with visiting family members, it argues.
Rehabilitative programs for those who have been incarcerated should take precedence above everything else, says the task force’s recommendation. The right to vote should be extended to those who have been imprisoned.
Additionally, the task force recommended creating a genealogical division for Black Americans to help them trace their ancestry, providing free college tuition for every Black high-school graduate, and mandating mandatory classes from kindergarten through high school on African American history and mandatory cultural training for teachers.
Redlining and housing discrimination have historically led to historically excessively high-interest rates for Black Americans. The research makes recommendations to alleviate this problem by offering Black Americans cheaper rate options as an alternative to historically excessively high rates.
In addition, the task committee recommended an overhaul of the judicial system’s interactions with Black Americans.
Those with felony convictions should be allowed to serve on juries, according to the report, and judges and attorneys should not be able to exclude jurors because of their criminal background.
No precise financial plan is recommended, however, the report recommends that the state “establish a systematic scheme of reparations for African Americans.”
The report illustrates how California used slavery, Black Codes, and Jim Crow legislation to support its burgeoning economy, even though it was a free state when it joined the Union in 1850. African-Americans were not regarded as full citizens and did not get the same benefits as their white peers. Only in 1959 did California ratify the 14th Amendment, which established in 1866 that anybody born in the United States was automatically a citizen.
In international law, a country is liable for harm caused by its improper actions or neglect, the task force said.
The report’s thorough look at the history of slavery in the United States and how it has influenced nearly every aspect of American life opens the door to groundbreaking reforms in California, but it is also likely to exacerbate the raging debate in the United States over the controversial doctrine of Critical Race Theory, which is taught in law schools and graduate schools and examines how race and ethnicity impact people’s daily lives.
“I hope the report is used as an organizing tool, a sort of rallying call,” task committee head Kamilah Moore told NBC News. To say that reparations are long overdue for the African American community is an understatement.
An official reparations report is expected to be released in July 2023.