After months of debate, California plans to establish a task force to develop a plan granting possible reparations to Black Americans under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 30.
California Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a Democrat from San Diego who heads the Legislative Black Caucus, spent months pushing for a reparations bill to be considered by the California Assembly.
Under the newly passed law, a nine-member task force will be created to come up with proposals for how the state could provide reparations to Black Americans, what form those reparations might take and who would be eligible to receive them, KTVU reported.
Twitter responded mostly favorably to the news.
Hip-hop mogul Ice Cube, a California resident and pro-reparations advocate, tweeted, “Thank you Governor @GavinNewsom for signing..Thank you @ADOSLosAngeles for bringing the bill to my attention so we could push from all angles”
ADOS L.A. @ADOSLosAngeles tweeted back to @icecube and @GavinNewsom: “Thank you for responding as quickly as you did and staying on top of it. And thank you for acknowledging our work!”
Concerned Black American Citizens™️ @CBAC_USA tweete, “Everything in your life up until now could’ve been about this moment. Thank you for listening to the ancestors.”
Others made sure to give credit to the ADOS movement. “Thanks to you, ADOS boots on the ground for making this happen. It’s a good start in the fight for reparations” HR40 @PASSHR40 tweeted.
The task force can make suggestions on eliminating state laws and policies that perpetuate discrimination, The Sacramental Bee reported. It can also recommend the state issue a formal apology “for the perpetration of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants,” according to the bill.
Reparations would be for Black people who are descendants of slaves. The task force’s recommendations, however, would not be binding. The task force must give a report to the state Legislature one year after its first meeting.
“This is not just about California, this is about making an impact, and a dent, across the rest of the country,” Newsom said moments after signing the bill during a ceremony broadcast on his YouTube channel.
The governor also tweeted, “CA just became the first state in the nation to mandate the study and development of proposals for reparations. Our past is one of slavery, racism, and injustice. Our systems were built to oppress people of color. It’s past time we acknowledge that.”
The state is looking at reparations even though California never had a government-sanctioned system of slavery. It entered the Union in 1850 as a free state but allowed slave-owning whites to bring their slaves to California. The California Legislature even passed a law making it legal to arrest runaway slaves and return them to their owners, KTVU reported.