Renowned Black economist Dr. Darrick Hamilton participated in a Dec. 8 meeting of California’s Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans. On Dec. 9, the panel decided Hamilton would not lead up the task force as expected.
With five meetings left on the agenda, the task force is now considering hiring reparations scholar and wealth inequality expert Dr. William A. “Sandy” Darity Jr., the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, The Sacramento Observer reported.
In 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the state’s historic reparations bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 3121, into law. The bill was authored by former assembly member Dr. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) before she was appointed and sworn in as the state’s first African American Secretary of State in January 2021.
The bill, titled “The Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans,” created a nine-member commission to investigate the history of slavery in the U.S, the extent of California’s involvement in slavery, segregation, and the denial of Black citizens their constitutional rights, The Sacramento Observer reported.
In October, the task force approved the appointment of Dr. Hamilton, an economics and urban policy professor at the New School in New York City. They parted ways after Hamilton announced he would have to limit the scope of his involvement.
A leading national authority on race and public policy, Hamilton has helped craft progressive policy proposals for reparations such as Baby Bonds — trust accounts for low-income kids funded by taxpayers.
Dr. Darity is the Samuel DuBois Cook professor of public policy, African and African American studies, and economics at Duke who co-authored the book, “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century,” with his wife, A. Kirsten Mullen. Darity testified before the task force during the first meeting in June.
Seven members of the nine-member panel voted not to move forward with Hamilton. Two appointees, Loyola-Marymount psychology professor Dr. Cheryl Grills and UCLA law professor Lisa Holder, abstained, TK reported.
Initially, Hamilton was offered $90,000, but the reduced assignment the economist requested decreased his compensation to $45,000. Ultimately, the panel decided not to go with Hamilton at all.
According to the group’s chair, Kamilah Moore, Hamilton informed the task force that he would have to narrow the responsibilities of his role, from advising on both calculations and methodology to a “renewed or narrower scope of work.”
The panel has been tasked with helping quantify past economic injustices African Americans faced in California and elsewhere and determine what or how much compensation should be for Black people living in California.
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