California’s reparations task force releases interim report, makes case for restitution

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FILE - In this image made from video from the Office of the Governor California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs into law a bill that establishes a task force to come up with recommendations on how to give reparations to Black Americans on Sept. 30, 2020, in Sacramento, Calif. A report by California's first in the nation task force on reparations Wednesday, June 1, 2022, will document in detail the harms perpetuated by the state against Black people and recommend ways to address those wrongs. (Office of the Governor via AP, File)
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California’s reparation task force released an interim report on June 1 making the case for an official government apology and restitution for African Americans, according to the Associated Press. The report detailed discriminatory practices the descendants of enslaved people suffered that continue to impact them today, including the areas of housing, education, and the criminal justice system.

According to the report, although California entered the Union as a free state in 1850, the early state government supported slavery. An estimated 1,500 enslaved African Americans lived in the state in 1852. That same year, California passed a harsher version of The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which mandated the return of escaped enslaved people to their owners.

In 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom enacted legislation that created the first in the nation task force. Preliminary recommendations from the group include tuition, business loans, housing grants, and wage/job protections for Black Californians.

The full report has been made available to the public.

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