Some public speakers at California’s first Reparations Task Force meeting Wednesday believe the state’s effort should involve giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to eligible Black residents.
Max Fennell, an entrepreneur and activist who attended the meeting in Oakland, said each Black Californian should get $350,000 and at least 15 acres of land and each Black business should get $250,000, according to London’s Daily Mail newspaper.
“It’s a debt that’s owed; we worked for free,” Mr. Fennell said. “We’re not asking; we’re telling you.”
The task force was formed via legislation in 2020 by Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom.
It’s supposed to deliver its report on how to pay reparations to the state legislature by July 1. Lawmakers will then decide how to proceed.
This past March, the task force voted to limit the scope of reparations to people who are the descendants of free or enslaved Black people who were in the country at the end of the 19th century.
But task force member Monica Montgomery Steppe said more time is needed to address time frames, payment calculations and residency, according to the Associated Press.
“This is the foundation of all the other recommendations,” she said.
An earlier report by the New York Times said the task force planned to give out over $223,000 to applicable Black residents affected by housing discrimination.
The task force arrived at that figure by looking at California’s discriminatory housing practices used from 1933 and 1977 that caused Black residents to lose out on over $5,000 per year.
State Senate candidate Deon Jenkins said at the Wednesday meeting that any money meant to counteract housing discrimination should be equivalent to the average price of a home in the state — roughly $800,000.
Task force Chairwoman Kamilah Moore said the group hasn’t established a set dollar amount, what form the reparations could take or even where the money could come from.
• This story is based in part on wire service reports.