The San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee has proposed a one-time payment of $5 million to every Black resident to recompense the decades of harm they have experienced.
The committee believes the payment would compensate the affected population. It wants to redress the economic and opportunity losses that Black San Franciscans have endured, collectively because of intentional decisions and unintended harms brought by the City policy.
The scheme will also supplement the income of lower-income Black households to reflect the Area Median Income every year for at least 250 years.
The committee released a draft report last month stating that San Francisco's international reputation as a shining progressive gem in the west is undermined by its legacy of mistreatment, violence towards and targeted racism against Black Americans. "While neither San Francisco, nor California formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, values of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression, and exclusion of Black people were legally codified and enforced," it said.
The San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee wants the city to make a lump sum payment of $5 million to black residents who are at least 18 and have identified as Black or African American on public documents for at least 10 years. The proposal says that residents must meet at least two of eight other requirements, including that the resident is personally, or the direct descendant of someone, incarcerated by the failed "War on Drugs", or is a "Descendant of someone enslaved through US chattel slavery before 1865."
The 15-member panel also recommended the creation of a comprehensive debt forgiveness program for Black residents to cancel student loans, housing loans, and credit card debt. Through this, the panel wants to give Black households an opportunity to build wealth.
Racist and Unconstitutional Proposal
This proposal hasn't gone down well with the masses. Leo Terrell, a civil rights attorney who is Black, said he will be the first lawyer to fight against this. He believes the proposal is outrageous. "It's unlawful, it's unconstitutional, it's racist, but it's not surprising it came from California." Terrell said California has always been a free state. But he added that it has a "race card" issue, and not a "race issue".
Larry Elder, a former California gubernatorial candidate who is also Black, said reparation is the extraction of money from people who were never slave owners to people who were never slaves. He highlighted that the United States was not a country until 1789 and slavery ended in 1865.