California’s reparations task force has voted to approve recommendations on how the state may compensate and apologize to Black residents for generations of harm caused by racism and discriminatory policies.
The recommendations include financial payouts which, if approved by the State Assembly, could total hundreds of billions of dollars, experts say.
The panel’s vote approved a detailed account of historical discrimination against African American Californians in areas such as voting, housing, education, disproportionate policing and incarceration, and others.
CalMatters, a non-partisan, nonprofit news organization, has created a calculator to help residents estimate how much they could individually receive under the task force’s proposal.
The tool, titled, “How much reparations are African American residents owed?” includes a breakdown of the itemized amounts for “Health Harms,” “Mass Incarceration & Over-policing,” Housing Discrimination” and “Devaluation of Businesses.”
Each of those categories includes a maximum payment based on specific timeframes. For instance, a Black Californian who lived in the state between 1971 and 2020 could receive as much as $2,352 per year due to “over-policing.”
A Black Californian who moved to the state in 1950 could potentially receive $1.27 million. If they moved here in 1960, the payment could potentially total $1.1 million. Someone who moved to California as recently as 2015 could receive nearly $200,000.
After California entered the union in 1850 as a “free” state, it did not enact any laws to guarantee freedom for all, the task force’s draft recommendation notes. On the contrary, the state Supreme Court enforced the federal Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed for the capture and return of runaway enslaved people, for over a decade until emancipation.
A new state agency would need to be established to distribute funds and determine eligibility, CalMatters writes. That agency would also help Black Californians trace their lineage to confirm that they are eligible for the payments.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.