Posted on June 2, 2022

California Task Force Suggests Reparations in Report Detailing Lasting Harms of Slavery

Taryn Luna, Los Angeles Times, June 1, 2022

In a report Wednesday on the lingering effects of slavery, California’s Reparations Task Force offered a sweeping list of preliminary recommendations that include ending voter approval for publicly funded “low-rent housing,” providing free college tuition and creating a new state agency to implement dozens of other forms of reparation for African Americans.

The 492-page report is the first of two the nine-member panel will send to the California Legislature, which is responsible for passing any reparations into law. Much of the initial report focused on defining the harms against African Americans from slavery to present day as the basis for a detailed plan to provide remedies in a second installment next summer.

Kamilah Moore, chair of the task force, said she hopes people “pore into the report and read it with an open mind and an open heart to really understand the African American experience in the state.” She called it the most extensive government-issued report on the African American community in more than 50 years.

Legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020 made California the first state government in the country to adopt a law to study and develop proposals for potential reparations to descendants of enslaved people and those affected by slavery.

The task force, comprised of elected officials, civil rights leaders, attorneys and reparations experts, voted in March to tie eligibility to lineage, defined “as descendants of African Americans enslaved in the U.S. or of free Black people living in the country before the end of the 19th century.”


The task force included several preliminary recommendations for addressing those harms, which Moore said she hopes lawmakers review and consider acting upon before the second report comes out next year.

Proposed suggestions include providing free tuition for California colleges and universities as well as funding for Black-owned and -controlled schools.

The panel suggested ending work requirements for California inmates and paying them market rate for their labor. To address police violence against Black people, the task force is proposing holding law enforcement officers more accountable.

The group is also recommending a repeal of Article 34 of the California Constitution, approved in 1950 to require voter approval to develop, construct or acquire low-income housing funded by the government, and ending crime-free housing rules that disproportionately affect Black residents.

Under a new California African American Freedmen Affairs Agency, the report recommends the creation of a Cabinet-level secretary to implement the task force’s recommendations and work with state governments to “eliminate systemic racism that has developed as a result of the enslavement.”

“The hope is that what we’re doing in California becomes a framework for the national level,” Moore said.