Slavery reparations could be coming in one state.
Fox News reports that state senators in California have passed a bill that would set up a task force whose purpose would be to study potential reparations for slavery.
The bill passed the California senate overwhelmingly by a bipartisan vote of 33 to 3.
AB-3121, or, “Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans,” is the bill that was passed on Saturday, on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech.
This is another way that leaders in California are looking to address the perceived systemic racism in our country.
“Let’s be clear: Chattel slavery, both in California and across our nation, birthed a legacy of racial harm and inequity that continues to impact the conditions of Black life in California,” said state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles.
Accordingly, the bill sets up a nine-person commission to study what kind of reparations could be made for slavery. The reparations could be other than money, such as housing assistance or forgiving student loans, for example.
“If the 40-acres-and-a-mule that was promised to free slaves were delivered to the descendants of those slaves today, we would all be billionaires,” said state Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena. “I hear far too many people say, ‘Well, I didn’t own slaves, that was so long ago.’ Well, you inherit wealth — you can inherit the debt that you owe to African-Americans.'”
The commission will be tasked with making recommendations for reparations to the California legislature by 2023.
Not the first of its kind
Similar bills were recently passed by Texas, New York, and Vermont. They too conducted studies to determine what kind of reparations could be made for slavery. Some examples of what they found include housing assistance, lower tuition, forgiving student loans, and community investments.
The California bill will now return to the state assembly for the final vote on Monday. Given the widespread support, it would be surprising if it did not pass.
But, it ought not to pass, if for no other reason then that if anyone did deserve a reparation, that person died long ago.