Mar 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

California task force on reparations votes to limit eligibility

Rev. Amos Brown

Rev. Amos Brown, vice chair of the task force, in 2019. Photo: Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

California's task force on reparations voted 5-4 on Tuesday to limit state compensation to Black Americans whose ancestors were free or enslaved Black people in the U.S. in the 1800s, AP reported.

Why it matters: California's task force to consider reparations for Black Americans was created in 2020 and is the first such panel in the nation, with the potential to shape reparations discussions in other parts of the country.

State of play: Deciding who should qualify for potential reparations was a key question for the panel.

  • The panel chose to include descendants of free Black people who came to the U.S. before the 20th century in part due to the risk at that time of becoming enslaved and the difficulties of documenting precise family histories, AP reports.
  • Proponents of this approach believe this set of eligibility requirements stands the greatest chance of withstanding a legal challenge, per AP.
  • However, other members of the panel argued that reparations should apply to all Black people, regardless of lineage, citing systemic racism and discrimination in employment, housing, and education, per AP.

The big picture: The task force has until July 2023 to submit its recommendations on a form of compensation, who can qualify for it and how it ought to be awarded.

  • The task force has not yet reached an agreement on "any kind" of compensation plan, per AP.
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