SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – San Francisco officials on Tuesday declared a task force which will examine financial compensation, community plans and other approaches to make reparations to the descendants of slaves, becoming the largest city to take this measure.
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint the 15-member African American Reparations Advisory Committee, including Black men and women who’ve been displaced from San Francisco, have been incarcerated or have experienced homelessness, among other standards.
“The appointments of this reparations advisory committee is an historical event, as I am unaware of any other legislated body in place to prioritize injustices and create a true reparations plan in a package for Black people,” stated Board President Shamann Walton, who introduced the suggestion.
In the subsequent two years, the committee might have to submit a final draft that according to this legislation must determine”the scope of and eligibility for a citywide reparations program… to make whole those who have been wronged or who continue to suffer harm from past wrongs.”
The committee will seek input in the African American community on how best to enhance education, housing, violence prevention, workforce development and other areas.
San Francisco once had a flourishing Black population. However, gentrification and high cost of living have pushed them out. African Americans are now 5 percent of the populace but 35percent of the homeless population. The average income for a Black family is $31,000, compared with $110,000 for white households, according to the mayor’s office.
“San Francisco has the opportunity to lead the way in addressing the harm that far too many African Americans families have experienced,” said Sheryl Davis, director of the Human Rights Commission.
Since last summer’s imagining over racial injustice after George Floyd’s death, state lawmakers in California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Oregon – where Democrats control the legislatures – released or expected to revive proposals to study the possibility.
But their attempts have largely postponed. California is the only state to approve a commission to study reparations statewide and how they might work.
In March, Evanston, Illinois, became among the earliest U.S. cities to offer Black inhabitants reparations. The city council in Asheville, North Carolina, voted last July in favor of reparations for Black residents that would take the form of helping businesses and providing home and health care. Other local governments, including in Amherst, Massachusetts, Providence, Rhode Island, and Iowa City, Iowa, are considering whether to give some form of reparations.
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