CALIFORNIA lawmakers are launching a task force to consider reparations for African Americans, and in particular the descendants of slaves, as social justice protests across the country wage on.
The state's Senate supported creating a nine member commission following a bipartisan 33-3 vote on Saturday.
The measure has to return to the Assembly for a final vote however, although an earlier version of the bill has previously been approved, AP reported.
“Let’s be clear: Chattel slavery, both in California and across our nation, birthed a legacy of racial harm and inequity that continues to impact the conditions of Black life in California,” Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles, said.
The legislation would see a detailed study of the impact of slavery in California conducted.
The task force would then be expected to recommend to the Legislature by the form of compensation that should be awarded, how it should be awarded, and who should be should be eligible for compensation.
The force must return their recommendations to the Senate by July 2023.
Mitchell listed legal and judicial steps state officials took before the Civil War to support slavery in Southern states while repressing Blacks, although California was a free state.
In the last two years, Texas, New York, and Vermont have considered similar legislation, AP added.
Reparations could take the form of cash, housing assistance, lower tuition, forgiving student loans, job training or community investments.
Sen. Steven Bradford, a Democrat from Gardena who supported the bill, said he only wished it was more than a study.
“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,” Bradford said.
“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.”
The vote came the same weekend as the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and as protests against racial injustice continued across the country.
On Saturday night, a DC Metropolitan Police helicopter had to make an emergency landing on Saturday night after rioters shone a laser pointer at the pilots, leading to one crew member being hospitalized.
Washington DC was just one city which saw unrest on Saturday.
A man was shot dead last night as a caravan of Donald Trump supporters clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland.
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