LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a motion on April 12 to support Assembly Bill 3121, California state legislation that created a task force to study and develop reparation protocols for black Americans.
AB 3121, known as the “Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans,” was passed in 2020 and established the group to “identify, compile, and synthesize the relevant corpus of evidentiary documentation of the institution of slavery that existed within the United States and the colonies that became the United States from 1619 to 1865,” according to the bill text.
Last month, the task force voted to support reparations only for black Californians who can prove they are direct descendants of slaves. The program would be the first of its kind in the United States.
The task force is required to submit its written recommendations and findings to the legislature. The first such report is slated to be released in June, which will be part one of a two-part report looking at issues such as “racism in banking,” “discrimination in technology,” homelessness, and gentrification.
Five members of the nine-member task force were appointed by the governor, while two members were appointed by the President pro Tempore of the Senate and two members by the Speaker of the Assembly.
UC Berkeley professor and task force member Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis told ABC10 in February, “We aren’t just talking about this period of, you know, formal enslavement centuries ago; we’re talking about the price that African Americans continue to pay for the progress of our nation.”
“African Americans have actually faced the consequences and have paid the cost for California’s progress,” he said.
One public commenter who wrote into the city council meeting said: “Last I checked, I nor my family ever owned slaves. And no one I know was ever a slave. Reparations are a knee-jerk action to assuage your privilege, NOT mine.”