California launched the nation’s first-ever task force to study how the state will distribute reparations for African Americans, according to ABC News. On Tuesday (June 1), the nine members of the force gathered for their first meeting and discussed their two-year plan against systemic racism and toward compensation for years of slavery endured by Black people.
Members of the task force noted that Black Americans have been hindered from making real improvements in life because of systemic racism that displays itself via racial disparities in wealth, health and education as well as discriminatory laws that prohibit them from buying homes and getting loans.
“I’m so thankful to my ancestors, who survived so much trauma, so much pain, so much tragedy, so much brutality, so that I could live,” said Lisa Holder, a civil rights attorney in Los Angeles. “And I am ready to fight to deliver them — our ancestors —justice.”
“We have lost more than we have ever taken from this country. We have given more than has ever been given to us,” added task force member and state Sen. Steven Bradford, who thinks the program should draw inspiration from the GI bill, which provides free college courses and helps with purchasing homes.
The force is tasked with detailing racial discrimination against Black people in the form of laws, calculating compensation and informing the public on the study’s findings. Generally, their goal is to outline the effects of racism on economic disparities and come up with proposals on how to address them.
“This is really about lineage, it’s not just about color. The government owes a debt that’s long overdue,” said San Fernando Valley resident Harriet Barton.