SACRAMENTO — The California reparations task force reached a decision Tuesday night on eligibility for compensation.
People with lineage traced to a Chattel African American or a free black person living in the U.S. before the end of the 19th century will be eligible for compensation.
The task force approved this decision by a 5-3 vote
Yes votes were cast by Chair Kamilah Moore, Vice-Chair Dr. Amos C. Brown, Senator Steven Bradford, Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis and Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe.
No votes were cast by Dr. Cherly Grills, Lisa Holder, Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer and Donald K. Tamaki.
California Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, who voted against limiting eligibility, said there is no question that descendants of slaves are the priority, but he said the task force also needs to stop ongoing harm and prevent future harm from racism. He said he wished the panel would stop “bickering” over money they don’t have yet and start discussing how to close a severe wealth gap.
“We’re arguing over cash payments, which I firmly don’t believe are the be all and end all,” he said.
California’s first-in-the-nation task force on reparations for African Americans said a plan based on lineage as opposed to race has the best change of surviving a legal challenge.
They also said that Black immigrants who chose to migrate to the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries did not share the trauma of people who were kidnapped and enslaved.