The California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals
for African Americans decided at the two-day meeting on the campus of
San Diego State University that it would support legislation that extends
the panel until July 1, 2024.
After an 8-0 vote with one abstention, the task force agreed that it would
support legislation that extends the panel, so that it has ample time to
satisfactorily implement an action plan based on the findings of its final
report, which is due in five months.
The decision, enacted in SDSU’s Grand Ballroom of the Parma Goodall
Alumni Center on Jan. 28, was made four months after Gov. Gavin
Newsom vetoed legislation asking for a 12-month extension.
The first day of the meeting was held on Jan. 27 at the Alumni Center.
“The task force supports, in spirit, the extension of the life of the task
force, by another year, July 1, 2024, for implementation purpose only,”
task force chairperson Kamilah V. Moore told California Black Media
(CBM). “We do not authorize or write legislation, but all agreed as a
task force the idea of continuing this work to ensure that reparations
become a reality in California.”
After a passionate debate -- carried over from the first day of the
meeting -- clarified the need for the extension, the task force members
supported the notion that more time was necessary.
The nine-member panel has until June 30 to submit a final form of
recommendations to the California Legislature. The group agreed that
the necessity of the action is based on having to manage the
implementation of the task force recommendations and not a
continuation of the study. The task force is on schedule to release its
final report and recommendations by July 1, Moore said.
On Sept. 29, Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill (AB) 2296
authored by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles).
AB 2296 proposed extending the Task Force’s mission until July 1,
2024. Newsom vetoed the bill at the request of California Secretary of
State Shirley Weber who authored AB 3121 – the legislation
establishing the task force in 2020 – while serving in the Assembly.
Task Force vice chair Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown said at the SDSU
meeting that Jones had not been transparent about his intentions for
proposing the bill. Brown thought the bill was designed to remove
members from the panel. He said Jones-Sawyer has since “apologized”
to him about not providing pertinent details about AB 2296.
Jones-Sawyer was the only task force member who abstained from
voting at SDSU. As stated in the language, AB 2296 would’ve removed
“the specified term of office for appointees and, instead, subject the
appointees to removal at the pleasure of their appointing authority.”
The action alone would authorize the Task Force, by majority vote, to
elect officers and create advisory bodies and subcommittees to
accomplish its duties.
Friday Jones, co-chair of the Los Angeles chapter of the National
Assembly of American Slavery Descendants and co-host of Politics in
Black Podcast, opposed Jones-Sawyer’s Legislation. She now agrees
with the current proposed extension.
“First of all, I think the way it was brought up now in front of the
commission is the way that is supposed to happen. That did not happen
the first time Reggie Jones-Sawyer asserted legislation without forming
this body,” Jones told CBM. “That part they did get right today.”
Jones continued, “But the part of the conversation to me that was
missing is the argument that we are going to extend so we can ‘socialize’
all of these recommendations to build support from different
communities and ethnicities to put marketing money on the table (to
bring about awareness of California reparations).”
Overall, the meeting covered many issues, topics, and recommendations
for the final report. Potential remedies, remedial programs, laws and
apologies attached to harms pertaining to the wealth gap, and a
comprehensive presentation of tax law considerations presented by Ray
Odom and Sarah Moore Johnson were featured on the first day of the
California’s AB 3121, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, into law in 2020,
created the nine-member task force to investigate the history and costs of
slavery in California and around the United States.
Weber spoke briefly at the meeting. She started her academic career as
one of SDSU’s youngest professors and established the Africana Studies
department in 1972.
San Diego’s 37th Mayor Todd Gloria also spoke at the meeting. Gloria
served in the state Assembly from 2016 to 202o.
Chris Ward, Assembly Speaker pro Tempore of the California State
Assembly, who serves the 78th Assembly District in central San Diego,
made remarks to the panel on opening day of the meeting.
“Your work is going to be pivotal to help so many Californians that have
been affected by the injustices and inequalities we have seen in our
education system, in our housing system, and economic opportunities,”
Ward said. “This is going to be groundbreaking, and I am grateful for
the work that you are doing.”