Chris Lodgson – lead organizer for grassroots Coalition for A Just and Equitable California (CJEC) and American Redress Coalition of California (ARCC) – is partnering with the state’s Reparations Task Force and Department of Justice (DOJ) to host two free listening sessions to discuss reparations for Black Americans descended from those enslaved in America.
The first will take place on Saturday, May 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the California Ballroom, located at 1736 Franklin Street in Oakland, The Sacramento Observer reported. The second will be on Juneteenth (Sunday, June 19) at 12 p.m. at the Pullum Community Arts Center in Los Angeles.
“This is one of two, free official-sponsored listening sessions that the task force has asked us to do,” Lodgson said. “This will definitely help us get an accurate account (of the harms) done to Black people in this state.”
A coalition of organizations and community members dedicated to advocating for reparations for Black Americans, CJEC and ARCC are among several “anchor organizations” that will host listening sessions across the state in conjunction with the reparations task force.
Lodgson, who also works closely with the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants (NAASD), has organized and advocated both independently and with local community-based organizations, as well as with national nonprofit organizations, for over 13 years on both the East and West coast.
Originally from New York, he has resided in California for years. He is also a legal researcher, freelance writer, entrepreneur and advocate for Sacramento Black-owned businesses.
CJEC and NAASD were instrumental in passing AB3121, the law that created California’s first-in-the-nation reparations task force, as well as the decision by the task force for lineage-based reparations eligibility.
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In addition to Lodgson, task force members Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis and Dr. Amos Brown will be in attendance. On a recent podcast, Scott was careful to note when the task force releases it’s first report in June, they will be “preliminary recommendations.”
“It’s important to know that these are preliminary recommendations. The actual work of coming up with reparations recommendations is what we’re going to be doing for all the issues (for the final report in 2023),” Scott said. “I am really looking forward to having the conversations that we will have over the next several months around compensation. Reparations are compensation, and from day one, my position has been cash-based reparations.”
Lodgson said that’s why it’s so important for community members to “share their experiences” Saturday and during other sessions which will be announced.
“The Community Listening sessions are an important part of how we make sure Black Americans in California participate in creating California’s Reparations proposals,” Lodgson said. “We’re inviting the Bay Area community to come out and be heard. The California Reparations Task Force needs to hear from you, from us, real Black people.”
“These listening sessions are important and probably the center, the core part, of the task force’s community engagement process,” Lodgson added. “This is one of the more important ways that the community can learn about reparations in California. This is the way to get the word out to the people from seven organizations.”
Other anchor organizations that will host sessions include the Black Equity Collective, Afrikan Black Coalition, Black Power Network, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE) and Othering and Belonging Institute.
To learn more, visit @cjecofficial on Twitter or send an inquiry to CJECOfficial@gmail.com.
PHOTO: Chris Lodgson, lead organizer for reparations and restorative justice advocacy organization CJEC, speaks at an event. Photo Courtesy of Chris Lodgson.