California Reparations Task Force Releases Report; examines harm against African Americans

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — From the transatlantic slave trade to today, a unique account is packed with sobering examples of the harm inflicted on African Americans and explores California’s role.

That interim report from the California Reparations Task Force comes with a warning about the graphic content covering torture, lynching and other forms of extreme violence.

“I cried pondering the report because you know I am a descendant of American forced slavery. I’m descended from associates,” said Kamilah Moore.

A native of Leimert Park, Moore is an attorney and chairman of the California Reparations Task Force.

“It’s a matter of the heart, especially by the California Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and task force members,” she said.

Through extensive research and testimony, the nearly 500-page report documents the systemic racism that has plagued all levels of government.

“In California, racial violence against African Americans began during slavery, continued through the 1920s as groups like the Ku Klux Klan penetrated local government and police departments, and peaked after World War II when African Americans attempted to move into white neighborhoods to pull,” it says.

“We currently live in segregated neighborhoods,” said Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, a member of the California Assembly, one of the members of the task force that will help bring the report and its recommendations to the state legislature and advocate for reparations.

“In a lot of ways, we need to direct this through the Assembly and the Senate and get the governor’s approval,” he said.

Among the recommendations: free tuition at public universities for African Americans who are descendants of slavery.

The group is also lobbying for the state of California to establish an office that would help process claims for those who are entitled to compensation.

Their recommendations could be a blueprint for other countries and the federal government.

Jones-Sawyer said this was a project he didn’t think he would be a part of.

“My uncle was one of the Little Rock Nine when the nine kids were incorporated into Central High School in 1957,” he said, adding that he and his family left Little Rock after their lives were threatened by the KKK. “I have always known that I have a debt to return. I never thought it would be this big.”

The task force will work together until July 2023.

The group encourages Californians to get involved, read the report, and attend upcoming listening sessions.

For more information, see oag.ca.gov/ab3121.

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https://abc7.com/california-reparations-task-force-report-2022-african-americans-ca/11916672/ California Reparations Task Force Releases Report; examines harm against African Americans

Laura Coffey

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