California’s Black Lawmakers Push For Bills To Address Reparations

California’s Black Lawmakers Push For Bills To Address Reparations

California’s Black lawmakers push for bills to address reparations. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) is leading the charge. Weber discusses a proposal to significantly restrict when police officers can fire their weapons during a news conference on April 3, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The call for reparations is growing louder in the wake of racial and economic inequality highlighted by the covid-19 pandemic and the killing of George Floyd. Black leaders in California are pushing for reforms and reparations.

California’s Legislative Black Caucus is prioritizing a package of bills that include police reform, a task force to study reparations, and the repeal of California’s controversial 1996 law barring affirmative action at colleges, LAist reported.

Shirley Weber, who chairs the caucus, said California and the rest of the country need deep reforms, from stricter rules about police conduct to making college admissions and the workforce more inclusive.

“Will it be systemic…or will this be a quick response that we’ve had before?” she asked at a news conference where she advocated for sweeping legislation. “Every riot has its somehow quick response to the problem, and it doesn’t sustain itself. And we find ourselves back in the same situation. We’re optimistic that will not happen this time.”

The caucus also wants to study the feasibility of cash reparations for the Black descendants of slaves in California. The bill, AB 3121, would create an eight-member task force to study the impacts of slavery in California and develop proposals for potential reparations. Weber first talked about the same bill in February.

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Caucus members also want a ballot measure named ACA 5 asking Californians to repeal Proposition 209, a 1996 referendum that banned preferential treatment for minority groups applying to state colleges and government jobs. Another measure, ACA 6, would expand the right to vote for parolees, The Los Angeles Times reported.

“In the words of Fannie Lou Hamer: We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired,” state Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) told The L.A. Times “We have seen, night after night, the protests throughout this state and this nation by people who are sick and tired of the status quo. We’re sick and tired of seeing unarmed Black men and women killed by police. We’re sick and tired of seeing these officers not being held accountable for their actions.”