California has been calling for financial reparations for Black people due to historic slavery and racial discrimination. Now officials have to decide how the program will be structured, according to Yahoo! News.
The California Reparations Task Force, the first of its kind in the country, has to figure out the logistics behind such a program, such as eligibility, cost, and how much money qualifying Black Americans would get.
The panel received widespread praise after publishing an extensive report outlining how slavery, Jim Crow laws, and modern-day racism contributes to disparities between Black people and their white counterparts today. They ultimately called for "comprehensive" reparations to address the historic disenfranchisement against Black Americans and atone for history.
"It will never make people whole who are the descendants of slaves, but understanding that America and California does owe a debt to African Americans" is significant, California State Sen. Steven Bradford says. "There is a debt still owed to African Americans who built this country."
While the research has shed more light on the whitewashed history of racism in the country, developing reparations programs is another issue. Earlier this year, the panel voted 5-4 to limit benefits to descendants of enslaved people or freemen during the 1800s. The move has drawn criticism since Black people would have to provide lineage, an already difficult task, and excludes those still facing discrimination today, according to reporters.
Another roadblock is funding. Yahoo! News learned from task force members that they haven't determined a price tag for the reparations program, but Bradford estimates it would cost less than 1% of California's $300 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Golden State also has a surplus of nearly $100 billion, and half of it is available for discretionary use.
Civil rights groups plan on holding a Juneteenth (June 19) press conference, calling on President Joe Biden to issue an executive order to develop proposals and programs for reparations.