Many reparations activists are up in arms about a recent letter posted by Amos Brown, the president of the San Francisco branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The statement, for some, seems to indicate that Brown is against the proposed cash reparations plan in San Francisco, which would hand out $5 million to Black citizens who are descendants of slaves. But Brown, who has been the pastor of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco since 1976 and happens to be Vice President Kamala Harris’ pastor, says this is not so.
The Moguldom Nation spoke with Brown via phone, and he clarified his stance on reparations in San Fransisco. Soon after the NAACP issued a clarification statement on its reparations stance, stating that they are indeed for cash payments but that $5 million is an “arbitrary number.”
During the discussion with The Moguldom Nation, Brown stressed he is not against direct cash reparations but wants more than that, such as community programs that address education and health in the Black community. “Hey, if you don’t have your health, you won’t be able to spend anything,” he said of direct cash payment with social programs.
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Also, he seems to feel the $5 million mark may be unrealistic and could cause the whole reparations plan to fail. He pointed out he doesn’t want to set Black Americans up for failure, and that there needs to be realistic repair proposals. He said it’s “not either or” he wants both cash payouts and funded programs.
Considering his connection with the vice president, we asked Rev. Brown if either Harris or President Joe Biden has been in touch with him regarding reparations policy development in California. Surprisingly, he said, “No” and that “it’s a local matter.”
This direct confirmation from Brown about his stance seems more in line with what he has previously stated and shown, even those the statement he tweeted seems otherwise. He was initially for a cash payments reparations program.
The NAACP San Francisco Branch tweeted a statement on March 14 that was critical of the San Fran reparations proposal.
“We strongly believe that creating and funding programs that can improve the lives of those who have been impacted by racism and discrimination is the best path forward toward equality and justice,” Brown said in a statement posted to Twitter.
The statement “called on the Board of Supervisors to reject a one-time $5 million reparation payment to Blacks.”
Brown claimed the money would be better spent in the community.
But many took the statement as saying the NAACP and Brown were against cash payments totally. And they blasted the Reverend on Twitter.
The NAACP today, March 16, post our discussion with Dr. Brown, issued an updated press release, clarifying the organizations stance on direct cash payments.
A city-appointed committee had proposed $5 million payouts to Black locals who are descendants of slaves with a guaranteed annual income of at least $97,000 for 250 years. The committee also proposed the elimination of personal debt and homes in San Francisco with a price tag of just $1 a family, News One reported.
Reverend Brown is the vice chair of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s nine-person reparation committee. That committee has also called for cash payments. Brown has not spoken out against this.
In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to begin a two-year exploration via a task force that is to deliver a plan on what reparations might look like for Black Americans living in the Golden State. Task force members are expected to deliver a final reparations proposal by July.
Brown is also part of the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee, which published its $5 million suggestion in December. And it seems he was on board with that plan at that time, The Daily Mail reported.
The San Francisco reparations committee is expected to deliver its final report in June.
Press release from the NAACP San Francisco branch opposing $5 million cash payment in reparations in favor of funding programs. (Twitter)/Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, is the NAACP SF Chapter President and a member of the California Reparations Task Force. (NAACP San Francisco)