$5 Million for Each Longtime Black Resident? S.F. Has a Bold Reparations Plan to Consider

A century after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and lamented how “the Negro still is not free.”

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“One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity,” he said during his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

King could have been describing today’s San Francisco, a 47-square-mile city that’s home to more than 60 billionaires and at least 7,000 homeless people, around 40% of whom are Black, despite Black people representing only 5% of the population.

Right up until he was assassinated in 1968, King argued that economic justice was integral to racial justice. The idea is at the core of a draft proposal the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee presented to city leaders last month.

The Board of Supervisors created the committee, also called AARAC, in December 2020, amid a national racial reckoning. The board’s legislation, while innovative, was also narrow, allowing city leaders to reject or outright ignore the committee’s work.

What happens next will show whether San Francisco politicians are serious about confronting the city’s checkered past, or are simply pretending to be.

While California was never officially a slave state, slaveholders were protected here, and the committee’s research reveals that segregation, systemic oppression and racial prejudice born from the institution of slavery had a profound impact on the city’s evolution.

In the 20th century alone, San Francisco was a Ku Klux Klan stronghold, barred Black people from settling in certain areas, kept them out of city jobs and demolished the Fillmore, a Black neighborhood and commercial district, leaving it vacant for decades.

“Centuries of harm and destruction of Black lives, Black bodies and Black communities should be met with centuries of repair,” AARAC chair Eric McDonnell told me. “If you look at San Francisco, it’s very much a tale of two cities.”

AARAC’s draft proposal includes a number of financial recommendations. There’s one that will especially get folks talking.

AARAC calls for one-time, lump-sum reparations payments of $5 million to each eligible recipient. The amount could cover the “the economic and opportunity losses that Black San Franciscans have endured, collectively, as the result of both intentional decisions and unintended harms perpetuated by City policy,” the draft states.

To qualify for the payments, residents must be 18 at the time the committee’s proposal is enacted, and have identified as Black or African American on public documents for at least 10 years. They may also have to prove they were born in the city between 1940 and 1996, have resided in San Francisco for at least 13 years, and be someone, or the direct descendant of someone, incarcerated during the war on drugs.

To put that in perspective, the state reparations task force, which will issue its own proposal is June, believes that Black Californians may be due $569 billion for housing discrimination alone between 1933 and 1977.

The wealth disparity is not the result of bad fortune. The period of urban renewal that began in the 1950s remains one of the most damning examples of how local government stole wealth from Black communities by razing them, and then ensured they never recovered. As AARAC’s report highlights, most of San Francisco’s formerly redlined neighborhoods — where residents were deemed ineligible for federal housing loans between 1933 and 1954 — are low-income neighborhoods undergoing gentrification now.

While San Francisco isn’t unique in having systematically distributed its riches along racial lines, the city’s status as a liberal bastion makes it a powerful testing ground for undoing these damages, AARAC vice chair Tinisch Hollins told me.

“This reparations process gives us a chance to look at the many ways, not just economically, that harm can and should be repaired,” Hollins said. “And even though San Francisco has passed policies that touch on the legacy of slavery, we have needed something that goes toward quantifying that harm.”

As for next steps, the committee will submit its final proposal to city leaders in June. Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin told me he hopes his colleagues will approve AARAC’s recommendations.

“There are so many efforts that result in incredible reports that just end up gathering dust on a shelf,” Peskin said. “We cannot let this be one of them.”

As King described in his “I Have a Dream” speech, America was founded by white men who wrote a fraudulent “check” that promised that all men would enjoy the “unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Click here to read the full article in the SF Chronicle


  1. Robert K Dorn Sr says

    What a bunch of total BS. Every person in the world has an ancestor who was a slave at some time

    • Hummmm there is Greek somewhere in my background.

      I demand reparations for centuries of oppression by Persians, Turks, Roman Empire. Let’s see 3 times $5 million……adjusted for inflation….YEP I’LL TAKE THAT.

      Now about all those times I worked part time and minimum wage after people would not hire a Army Vet. in the 1970’s….Most of them were Democrats.

      Another $15 Million…..that sound right.

      Now about the harm done by the Democrats who have tried and ignored the Traitor Hanoi Jane……!

      That should be a minimum of $20 Million for each family of tortured prisoners of Hanoi Hilton and it should come out of her hide.

      Yep …. Let’s Play Reparations Wheel of Fortune………..Can I have an H for the Hate the Dems are promoting.


    And how many of them who would qualify are on welfare? I think that they’re already getting ‘reparations’.

  3. Richard Cathcart says

    Were this “Plan” successfully implement, would that expectedly result in the effective termination any succeeding genuine pity by non-“Black” as such people have exhibited for more than 70 years? White, Brown, Yellow, Gaily Colored and so on ad infinitum will quite probably feel emotions more like envy than admiration for those “Black” people Govt-identified (labeled). Such a program, if done, will simply place a Yellow Jew Star, a la the NAZIS, on every California Black person so labeled by Government! Welcome, then, to a new episode in the world’s repulsive history of ugly them vs us racisms. Gotta be amused by the meanness and backwardness of California’s Democrat Party, always successful at setting social wildfires stirring unquenchable economic trouble and setting people against each other’s basic life-sustaining best interests!

    • Marxism is about class warfare and progressivism is a similar collectivist, utopian ideology that since WWII has become a convenient harbor for Marxists and communists. This is a provocative scheme that will create resentment and envy between classes of people. I believe that is what it is intended to do.

  4. Then we need to pay the immigrants to founding fathers for the hardship of creating once a great country and didn’t ask for a dime! Communist at it’s best!! Start the emails/phone calls folks!!!

  5. Yet another Frisco far left city killing idea. As a nation we have spent BILLIONS in Welfare tax dollars, over decades, to assist minorities unable to keep up in a meritocracy. We are still funding these ever expanding self described VICTIMS. The actual results, so far, shows we have enabled a permanent class of citizens called DEPENDENTS. Gaming the system has become a viable occupation. Crying white supremacy and racist with “seeds of dissension” is easier than getting educated and joining our capitalist society. Did you forget we had a Black President?
    Slavery reparation/compensation is just another anachronistic excuse for more of the same.

  6. In this Woke/liberal world we are having forced on us we need to return to reality and end reparations. They actually do nothing for the root issues, which are an unwillingness to assume responsibility for one’s self. Giving any amount of money will open the door to forever requiring more. When do the people of America began to understand that? There are many millions of American that came here, took responsibility for themselves and generally have become members of the melting pot that makes us all Americans with liberty, freedom and responsibility. The Wokers/liberals want us to have none of those.

  7. Let me get this straight…….People who never owned slaves, forced to pay money to people who were never slaves…Seems fair, right? Only to the communist fascist racist democrats, of course!! I hope all these woke imbeciles realize that even Barry Hussein Soetoro’s grandpappy OWNED slaves

  8. Obviously, everyone should in the city should simply identify as black to get the money, economics. If they can legally change their biological sex from male-to-female and female-to-male in San Francisco by shoving some hormones in themselves and mutilating their bodies, they should be able to color their skin black and identify as black to get the money.

    I mean it would be racist, of course, per the “science” of leftardology to actually genetically test people to see what they actually are in objective reality. So, either identify as black and sign up for the free money or move out of San Francisco before they raise taxes on you 200% to cover this leftardist madness.

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