State senators in California overwhelmingly voted Saturday to endorse setting up a task force to study potential payment of reparations to black Americans whose ancestors were enslaved.
The state Senate supported creating the nine-member commission on a bipartisan 33-3 vote. The measure returns to the Assembly for a final vote before lawmakers adjourn for the year on Monday, though Assembly members overwhelmingly already approved an earlier version of the bill.
“Let’s be clear: Chattel slavery, both in California and across our nation, birthed a legacy of racial harm and inequity that continues to impact the conditions of Black life in California,” said Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles.
The call comes just two weeks after Duke University economist William Darity Jr. and his wife Kirsten Mullen released a co-authored report proposing $12 trillion in reparations, as Breitbart News reported.
The plan, written for The Roosevelt Institute, calls for between $10 trillion and $12 trillion — approximately $800,000 per African-American household — to be paid.
“[The] US government—the culpable party—must pay the debt,” the report proclaims. “Ultimately, respect for black Americans as people and as citizens—and acknowledgment, redress, and closure for the history and financial hardship they have endured—requires monetary compensation.”
The same argument is used in California although before the Civil War it was officially a free state.
The legislation would require the task force to conduct a detailed study of the impact of slavery in California and recommend to the Legislature by July 2023 the form of compensation that should be awarded, how it should be awarded, and who should be should be eligible for compensation.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is already in public support of any such move, as Breitbart News reported.
REVEALED: Kamala Harris called for “reparations” to help blacks “heal” from “undiagnosed and untreated trauma” caused by America's “dark history.” https://t.co/z4NykdqZZh
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) August 12, 2020
Last year she said in an interview she backs “some type of” reparations to black Americans for slavery.
In an interview with the “Breakfast Club,” a radio show on New York City’s Power 105.1, host Charlamagne tha God asked Kamala Harris about reparations.
She gave a lengthy answer, then when pushed on it, agreed with Charlamagne that she would support “some type of” reparations.
AP contributed to this report