San Francisco Approves Reparations Task Force

Officials in San Francisco voted on Tuesday (May 3) to approve the establishment of a reparations task force to study ways the city can repay descendants of slaves, becoming the largest city to make this move. 

The African American Reparations Advisory Committee will have 15 members and study forms of payment ranging from financial compensation, community resources, and other avenues, and will include Black people who’ve been pushed out of San Francisco, people who’ve been incarcerated or experienced homelessness, the Seattle Times reported

“The appointments of this reparations advisory committee is an historical event, as I am unaware of any other legislated body in place to prioritize injustices and create a true reparations plan in a package for Black people,” Board President Shamann Walton told the outlet. Walton introduced the proposal to the Board. 

The Task Force will have two years to lay out a plan that should figure out “the scope of and eligibility for a citywide reparations program… to make whole those who have been wronged or who continue to suffer harm from past wrongs,” the legislation says

Push for reparations have been decades in the making. Evanston, Illinois recently announced its plan to create a reparations plan for its Black residents. At the federal level, reparations legislation, HR 40, was reintroduced this year, and similarly lays out plans to commission a study of the impact of slavery on Black people in America to develop proposals for reparations. 

California was the first state to approve legislation to create a reparations commission after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the measure in fall 2020.  

San Francisco’s proposal will also examine the effects of gentrification in its consideration of reparations, and will get input from the city’s Black communities. 

“San Francisco has the opportunity to lead the way in addressing the harm that far too many African American families have experienced,” Sheryl Davis, director of the Human Rights Commission said in an interview. 

Photo: Getty Images

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