Ronny Reyes, Daily Mail, January 6, 2023
The chair of California’s Reparations Task Force said black people are owed $1 million each and that black homeless people needed to be at the forefront of the proposed compensations.
Speaking with the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC, Kamilah Moore said her task force found that California’s redlining housing practices targeting black Americans between 1933 and 1977 has had a direct effect on today’s homeless community.
Dubbing housing discrimination as one of the ‘five state sanction atrocities’ against black people, the panel initially recommended to California lawmakers that the state pay up $223,200 to each black resident.
Moore previously said economists on the panel estimated that black Californians descended from slaves were owed $1 million per person in reparations.
Moore, 30, noted that as the panel prepares for their final recommendations in July, they are weighing how to help the people who would need the money the most as the panel argues the payments would go on to ‘boost the economy.’
Her statements come after black activists in the community warned the state to comply with reparation payments to avoid ‘a serious backlash.’
Moore and the members of the Reparations Task Force highlighted five harms that California inflicted on black residents through public policies.
The harms include: government taking of property, devaluation of Black-owned businesses, housing discrimination and homelessness, mass incarceration and over-policing, and health.
When discussing housing discrimination and homelessness, Moore said black people suffered economic losses of about $569 billion between 1933 and 1977 as a result of redlining.
Redlining refers to a discriminatory practice where access to homes in certain neighbors were withheld from people of color and low-income residents.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s annual report on homelessness, there were 171,521 unhoused people in the state during the department’s one-night count. State reports indicate that between 34 to 40 percent of its homeless population is black.
Prior to the task force’s first public meeting last month, Moore discussed the group’s work with economists on how to put a value on the ‘atrocities’ that impacted the black community.
‘They came up with $127,000 per year of the life expectancy gap between Black and white Californians,’ Moore said during a panel at Harvard. ‘That comes to just under $1 million for each Black Californian descended from slaves.’
Moore noted that ‘California can’t pay all that,’ so the task force will be spending the next six months hammering out an adequate value and payment method to recommend to state lawmakers.
The task force will present its final recommendations on July 1.
When the first-of-its-kind task force presented its first report over the summer, Moore told MarketWatch that reparations would help, not hinder, the economy.
‘I expect it to have a positive impact on the economy, to go beyond the dominant messaging that reparations is a handout or that Black people aren’t good with money.
‘[Reparations] will work to close the lineage/racial wealth gap, which would in turn stimulate the economy, via the proliferation of African Americans being able to buy a home or vehicle, open a business, and/or contribute to the existing economy.’
By the time the task force held its first meeting in December, tensions flared as black activists and business owners demanded the state comply with the reparation recommendations.
Deon Jenkins told the first meeting of the task force that money given to black people in the California should be in-line with the average price of a home in the state, around $800,000.
Following that appearance at the public hearing in Oakland’s City Hall on Wednesday, Jenkins, who refers to himself as a ‘hip hop organizer’ said in an interview: ‘Either they’re going to comply or it’s going to be a serious backlash.’
Another person who spoke at the public hearing was a 35-year-old entrepreneur and the first black professional tri-athlete, Max Fennell who said that every person should get $350,000 in compensation.
He said the money would close the racial wealth gap and that Black-owned businesses should receive $250,000, which would help them to flourish.
Fennell added: ‘It’s a debt that’s owed, we worked for free,’ he said. ‘We’re not asking; we’re telling you.’
He concluded his remarks by saying: ‘The tangibles of what I’m asking for is $350,000 per black American in California that’s tangible, small business grant $250,000 and land 15-20 acres.’
Fennell posted a video on Instagram showing him at the hearings, with around 60 others, alongside the caption: ‘Witnessing history with the tribe.’