The latest meeting of the California Reparations Committee descended into chaos when protestors and hecklers demanded immediate payment, and some even called for black Americans to “divorce” the rest of the country. Around 200 people packed into the venue in Sacramento on June 29 where “black power” fists were raised and attendees chanted that they want reparations “now.”
The task force, established in 2020 as Black Lives Matter riots plagued the United States, has attempted to come up with a figure to compensate black Californians for slavery, even though slavery has never been legal in the Golden State. The panel produced its final report at the end of June, but a figure was still not agreed. Previous suggestions however were as high as $1.2 million for each black resident, coming to a total of hundreds of billions of dollars.
The panel’s final report also calls on law enforcement officers to stop arresting or reprimanding people for low-level offenses such as public intoxication or urination. The report claims that black people in California have lived through race-based terror, unequal opportunities, police harassment, political disenfranchisement, and “environmental racism.”
It is not yet fully understood how criteria for reparations will be measured, but the panel’s report suggests that people who can trace their ancestry back to at least the year 1900 or can show they are descended from slaves, will qualify for compensation.
The proposals will now go to the state legislature which will decide what recommendations to enact and how these can be financed.
However, some black residents of the Golden State have hit back at the proposals saying they are racist and unconstitutional. Attorney Leo Terrell said he would refuse any reparations payment and vowed to take the state to court if it implements the plans. Republican Presidential candidate Larry Elder said, “Reparations is the extraction of money from people who were never slave owners to people who were never slaves.”