San Francisco airs black reparations plan, $5 million per capita

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The controversial draft compensation bill, which includes a $5 million lump-sum payment for each black person covered, has left San Francisco facing financial headwinds and ferocious pressure from conservatives. may become the first major U.S. city to offer compensation despite facing severe criticism.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Presentation by the San Francisco African-American Reparations Advisory Committee, released a draft of the report in December. The $5 million per person payout is one of more than 100 recommendations he makes, ranging from subsidizing the purchase and maintenance of homes to exempting black businesses from taxes.

Supervisors can vote to adopt all, none, or some of the recommendations and can change them. Several board members have expressed concerns about the potential impact of lump sum payments and other options on the city’s budget, which is already facing shortfalls.

There are an estimated 50,000 black people living in San Francisco, but it’s not clear how many of them are eligible for financial compensation. The recommendations list a number of possible criteria, such as having lived in San Francisco for a certain period of time or being a descendant of someone imprisoned in the police’s war on drugs.

Critics say the payment does not make sense in states and cities that have never enslaved blacks. We should not pay people who do not.

Even after the formal end of slavery in the United States in 1865, government policies and practices continued to imprison blacks at higher rates, deny them access to mortgages and business loans, restrict where they could work, live.

Eric McDonnell, chairman of the African American Reparations Advisory Board in San Francisco, understands the legacy of slavery in the United States and how systemic racism impacts the system today. He said he was disappointed in people who didn’t.

“Frankly, there’s still a veiled view that black people don’t deserve this,” he said. .”

San Francisco may become the first major U.S. city to fund reparations for blacks as the idea of ​​paying reparations for slavery is gaining momentum across cities and universities. San Francisco was even able to pay reparations ahead of California, which became the first US state to be formed in 2020. reparations task forceThe idea has not been taken up at the federal level.

Black residents once made up more than 13% of San Francisco’s population, but more than 50 years later, blacks now make up less than 6% of the city’s residents and make up 38% of the city’s homeless population. increase. The Fillmore district flourished with black-owned nightclubs and shops until government redevelopment in the 1960s forced residents out.

Howard University Law School professor Justin Hansford says no municipal reparations plan has enough money to right the wrongs of slavery, but he believes city officials are “in good faith.” , legally, genuinely” appreciates attempts to make things right. And that includes cash, he said.

“If you’re going to say sorry, you have to speak in a language that people understand. Money is that language,” he said.

The San Francisco Supervisory Board, led by supervisor Sherman Walton, established a 15-member reparations commission in late 2020, months after it was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Statewide Task Force Amid National Turmoil A hearing was scheduled for February but was postponed to Tuesday after a white Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, a black man.

The commission’s final report is due in June, and there is no timeline for San Francisco to act on its recommendations. At Tuesday’s hearing, the board may direct staff to conduct further investigations, draft legislation, and schedule more meetings.

San Francisco Republican Party Chairman John Dennis has said he supports serious discussion of the topic, but does not consider the board’s discussion of the $5 million payment to be up for debate.

“This conversation we have in San Francisco is not serious at all. They just spewed numbers, no analysis,” he said. “It seems silly. Also, this seems to be the only city we could possibly pass through.”

McDonnell is frustrated by the question of how San Francisco will generate money to pay for the commission’s recommendations.

“We are victims,” ​​he said. “Even when the judge ruled in our favor, the judge didn’t turn to us and say, ‘Help me figure out how to make it work.'”

The California task force continues to consider recommendations including: monetary compensationThe report is due to be submitted to Congress on July 1st. At that point, it is up to lawmakers to draft and pass legislation, often a lengthy process.

A state panel made a controversial decision in March reparations to black descendants in the country of the 19th century. Some compensation advocates say this approach misses the ongoing harm black immigrants are suffering.

under san francisco draft recommendationthe person must be at least 18 years old and have been identified as “Black/African American” on official documents for at least 10 years. Two of the two criteria must also be met.

These criteria include being born in San Francisco between 1940 and 1966, or immigrating to San Francisco and living in San Francisco for 13 years or more. Displaced or descendants of persons displaced from San Francisco by urban renewal from 1954 to 1973. Being, or a descendant of, someone imprisoned in the war on drugs. or descendants of Americans who were enslaved before 1865.

chicago suburbs Evanston becomes first US city to offer reparationsThe city provided eligible people with funds to pay home repairs, property down payments, interest and arrears on properties in the city. In December Boston City Council Approves Compensation research task force.