This could be a wonderful moment to visit San Francisco if you’re Black and have ancestors who were slaves before 1865. The city’s reparations committee has suggested awarding a lump-sum payment of $5 million to each Black person who satisfies the requirements, along with a slew of financial advantages such as a guaranteed income of $97,000 for at least 250 years and the repayment of all outstanding debts (both personal and educational).
According to the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee’s December 2022 report, which was distributed over the weekend to Bay Area news outlets, “San Francisco can redress the public policies explicitly created to subjugate Black people in San Francisco by upholding and expanding the intent and legacy of chattel slavery, whose vestiges continue to have impacts today.”
A state task committee is also considering reparations ideas for Black people, notably for the descendants of individuals who were enslaved in the United States before the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. The suggestions were presented to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Although the San Francisco panel acknowledged that neither the city nor the state “formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery,” which was confined primarily to the Southern states, it asserted that Black people faced discrimination in a variety of settings, including housing, education, and employment.
The report stated that “a lump sum payment would compensate the affected population for the decades’ worth of harms that they have endured, and will redress the economic and opportunity losses that Black San Franciscans have endured collectively as a result of both intentional decisions and unintended harms perpetuated by City policy.”
Proposition 209, the 1996 voter initiative that forbade racial discrimination in state government, is in the way.
It was urged in the study to challenge the state statute “with the same precision as the discriminatory measures that were conducted against this racial group.”
Finding California residents who qualify presents another difficulty. An individual would need to be 18 and have checked “Black/African American” on official documents for at least 10 years in order to qualify under the San Francisco committee’s suggestions.
Following that, a person would need to satisfy at least two of eight requirements, six of which call for a San Francisco link.
Being a descendant of a slave and being imprisoned or descended from someone imprisoned as a result of the “failed War on Drugs” are the only two that do not.
In other words, a citizen of Atlanta who was once arrested for drug use and whose family tree includes a slave would reportedly qualify for the $5 million.
However, practically all Black Americans are descended from African slaves brought to the United States or the earlier British colonies between 1619 and 1808, when Congress abolished the foreign slave trade. There has been some emigration from Africa and the Caribbean in recent years.
In San Francisco, there are roughly 44,930 Black people, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. The total cost, if all those residents were qualified, would be nearly $225 billion. The budget for San Francisco in 2022–2023 was $14 billion.
Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, who expressed his desire for the plan’s approval, is among those who favor it.
According to Mr. Peskin, “there are so many efforts that produce fantastic reports that just end up gathering dust on a shelf.” “This cannot be one of them,” was said.
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