California Reparations Task Force to Recommend ‘Down Payments’ for Slavery, Racism 

The California Reparations Task Force published documents Monday indicating it plans to recommend the state apologize for racism and slavery and consider “down payments” of varying amounts to eligible African American residents. 

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The documents, numbering more than 500 pages, do not contain an overall price tag for reparations, but they do include ways the state could calculate how much money African Americans in California have lost since 1850, when the state was established, through today due to certain government practices. 

The loss calculations would vary depending on type of racial harm and how long a person has lived in California. The loss estimates range from $2,300 per person per year of residence for the over-policing of Black communities, to $77,000 total per person for Black-owned business losses and devaluations over the years. 

The state-appointed task force faces a July 1 deadline to make reparations recommendations to the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom. Task force leaders have said they expect the Legislature to come up with actual reparations amounts.

The task force also is recommending a variety of policy changes to counteract discrimination. 

“It is critical that we compensate, but not just compensate. We also need to evaluate policy that continues to hold us back,” said Monica Montgomery Steppe, a San Diego city council member who is on the task force. She spoke at a “listening session” in San Diego Saturday. 

Who would get reparations?

The task force documents discuss two kinds of reparations: those arising from particular instances of discrimination or harm that require an individual to file a claim, and those that involve distributing money or benefits to all eligible Black Californians for racial harm the entire community experienced. 

A recent example of an individual claim was Bruce’s Beach, a beachfront property and resort that the city of Manhattan Beach seized from a Black family nearly 100 years ago. Recently, partly because of the task force, government leaders returned the land deed to descendants of the Bruce family, who re-sold it to Los Angeles County for $20 million.

It is one of the few times a Black family was restored property taken by a local government.

“It is critical that we compensate, but not just compensate. We also need to evaluate policy that continues to hold us back.” MONICA MONTGOMERY STEPPE, REPARATIONS TASK FORCE AND SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL MEMBER

Eligibility for reparations continues to be a controversy. The task force in March 2022 voted to limit potential compensation to descendants of free and enslaved Black people who were in the United States in the 19th century. The group narrowly rejected a proposal to include all Black people, including recent immigrants, regardless of lineage.

Everyone in the eligible class should be compensated, the task force report says, even if they can’t prove they suffered a specific harm. 

“The State of California created laws and policies discriminating against and subjugating free and enslaved African Americans and their descendants,” the report says. “In doing so, these discriminatory policies made no distinctions between these individuals; the compensatory remedy must do the same.” 

The final report, much like the task force’s previous interim report, lays out the history of systemic racism and ongoing injustices in California.

Costs of racial damage

The latest batch of documents also urges that eligible people be compensated in cash, sooner rather than later. The records instruct the Legislature to begin with “down payments” rather than waiting for full loss calculations. 

The final report suggests dollar figures for certain categories of racial damage: 

  • For mass incarceration and the over-policing of Black communities, it estimates a loss per person of $115,260, or $2,352 for each year they lived in California from 1971 to 2020, corresponding to the national War on Drugs.
  • For housing discrimination, it offers two methods of loss calculation. One method based on gaps between Black and white “housing wealth” would peg losses at $145,847 per person. The other method, based on governments’ “redlining” history, including discriminatory lending and zoning, would calculate Black residents’ losses at $148,099 per person — or $3,366 for each year they lived in California from 1933 to 1977.
  • For injustices and discrimination in health, it estimates $13,619 per person for each year lived in California, or $966,921 total for someone living about 71 years — the average life expectancy of Black residents in California in 2021. 

The reparations program would be overseen by a new state agency that would determine eligibility and distribute funds, the report says. The agency also would be responsible for helping individuals document and provide evidence for specific injustices. 

Eligible Black residents should not expect cash payments anytime soon. The state Legislature and Newsom will decide whether any reparations are paid, and it’s unclear what they will do with the task force recommendations. 

“This is the time where we really need the voice of the public,” said Khansa T. Jones-Muhammad, also known as Friday Jones, a member of Los Angeles’ reparations advisory commission. “This is the time to get your churches together. This is the time to get your school boards together.” 

Jones made the comments during the listening session in San Diego.

Non-cash reparations

Some task force members have been dismayed at the amount of attention paid to the  dollar figures under discussion. The final report provides dozens of policy recommendations aimed at preventing further discrimination and harm against Black residents. 

“The biggest fight is implementation of all these recommendations, “ Montgomery Steppe said. “After the task force issues its final report, those recommendations need strong support in California’s Legislature and the government. It will take all hands on deck to ensure we push for a policy change from our state legislature.” 

The task force is scheduled to meet again at 9 a.m. Saturday at Lisser Hall at Northeastern University, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., in Oakland. The meeting will be live streamed

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters


  1. This Reparation Issue makes me ill…why not give free money to everyone who thinks they have been harmed. Why do they have to be Black. This Reparation committee are a bunch of racists.

    Why are my taxes going to be used for this ridiculous vote grabbing attempt by Newsome.

    I have more to say but, I have to go…cough, gage, ralph…

  2. Boris Badenov says

    I identify as a black lesbian transsexual, gimme some of dat money.

  3. tremors1 says

    How about the blacks apologize for all the crime, rapes robbery, drugs, murder, etc, etc committed by blacks in Kommiefornia. Oh I forgot, it’s not their fault.

  4. Really??? says

    How about apologizing for not only the crimes but the intentional killing of cops.

    I’ll continue….why is it the blacks who cannot drag themselves out of poverty, etc. when most Asian types seem to do it with in 2 generations max?

    Tired of the junk.

    Look around you and see they are demanding what amounts to segregation because they don’t want to have to deal with us blanco types……..

    Geez you know there is always Monrovia

  5. Reparations after Billions that have been legislated and spent in unsuccessful social services give-aways over decades? “Help up VS Hand out”.
    Democrats refuse to acknowledge that government welfare only helps when it is attached to work requirements. Otherwise they are creating a growing dependent class of idle citizens.
    “Give a man a fish and he will be back for more, teach a man to fish and he will not return”.

  6. OK. So you sold drugs during the years when sensible folks agreed that those drugs were a malicious harm to citizens and therefore to the country. Therefore, the War on Drugs.
    If you were committing murder for hire, it was illegal.
    If you were committing shoplifting, it was illegal.
    If you were committing burglary, it was illegal.
    If you committed a drive-by shooting, it was illegal.
    So, if you are black, do you now get reparations for being sent to prison for those crimes?

    Hijacking taxpayers should be added to the list of crimes. No wonder sensible people of all colors are leaving this state.

    I suppose the reason the Soros DA’s refuse to prosecute criminals is because they want to avoid the state having to pay more reparations.

  7. Could the state be trying to rile up beige people to get violent so they can be locked up and not allowed to vote?

  8. JLSeagull says

    I had two great-great-grandfathers who fought for the North in the Civil War to free the slaves. Shouldn’t I be in line for some type of recompense for their service? After all, they put their lives on the line for their enslaved fellow human beings?

    Are reparations for blacks due to higher black-on-black crime rates justified or should they be deducted?

    If the Dem (/Dim?) legislature accepts these recommendations then Dems, not the general taxpaying public should foot the bill.

  9. LUDICROUS to make a State that never had any slaves and never supported slavery to “apologize.” When will people start to see this as just a huge wealth distribution scam? In the past couple of years the gangs running into the stores and taking large quantities of products shout “this is reparations!” Society is crumbling as the culture I grew up in is vanishing.

  10. Hate to tell you dumb asses but California was NEVER a slave state…..You people need to take a HISTORY CLASS….OR DID YOU FAIL THAT??? First a few facts…”there were just as many BLACK SLAVE “OWNERS” as WHITE SLAVE OWNERS…In Louisiana alone there were over 900…These are facts…ALSO YOU BUNCH OF LOSERS….WHITE MEN “DIED” FOR YOUR FREEDOM…Do you understand that??? white boys died for your FREEDOM…..NOW YOU WANT US TO PAY MONEY AND PROPERTY TO SLAVES WHO WERE “NEVER” ENSLAVED IN CALIFORNIA???? THE COURTS WILL STRIKE THIS DOWN IN A SECOND…I would not go out and spend that money just yet…….

    • Ex-teacher says

      TOTAL AGREEMENT!!!! The slaves here in CA were Native Americans AND the oppressors were the Spaniards – both priests and soldiers.

      MAN – your educational system sucks!!! You idiots do NOT know your own history!!!!

  11. David Z says

    You know how much European folk lost due to California’s government during that time? 🙂

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