Aug 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

California lawmakers vote to consider slavery reparations

State Capitol.
The California State Capitol. Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

California's state Senate voted on Saturday to organize a task force to consider reparations to Black Americans, focusing on descendants of slaves, AP reports.

The big picture: "African Americans continue to suffer debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships" because of continued discrimination, the bill states.

Details: The nine-member commission would conduct a study on the impact of slavery in California and make recommendations by July 2023 on a form of compensation, how it should be awarded and who should qualify for it.

What they're saying: “If the 40 acres and a mule that was promised to free slaves were delivered to the descendants of those slaves today, we would all be billionaires,” said state Sen. Steven Bradford (D).

  • “I hear far too many people say, ‘Well, I didn’t own slaves, that was so long ago.’ Well, you inherit wealth — you can inherit the debt that you owe to African-Americans.”

What to watch: The California Assembly still needs to vote on Monday to approve the final bill, but lawmakers have already overwhelmingly passed an earlier version. The task force would start meeting no later than June 2021.

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