California Reparations Comes to Richmond for Community Meeting & Listening Session

California Reparations Comes to Richmond for Community Meeting & Listening Session

By Aleta Toure' and Chris Lodgson

The California Reparations Task Force members and Reparations supporters on Tuesday, March 1st, from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm will be having a community meeting.  The organizations: CJEC, Parable of the Sower Intentional Community Cooperative, Richmond Progressive Alliance, Bay Area BAP (Black Alliance for Peace), The National Black Liberation Movement Network (NBLMN), AfroSocialist, and a host of other organizations are together hosting this hybrid event (both in-person and online) community meeting at the Rich City Gallery, 1500C Macdonald Avenue, Richmond, CA. which will be held next door to the Rich City Rides Cooperative Bike Shop.  This Richmond Reparations Listening Session is to make sure Richmond residents are a part of this historic effort called AB 3121. A free registration link will be available soon, but please find updates at https://linktr.ee/RichmondReparations, and the Facebook page: https://fb.me/e/WYLL3weU.

As described by California's Attorney General's office, "The institution of slavery is inextricably woven into the establishment, history, and prosperity of the United States. Constitutionally and statutorily sanctioned from 1619 to 1865, slavery deprived more than four million Africans and their descendants of life, liberty, citizenship, cultural heritage, and economic opportunity. Following the abolition of slavery, government entities at the federal, state, and local levels continued to perpetuate, condone, and often profit from practices that brutalized African Americans and excluded them from meaningful participation in society. This legacy of slavery and racial discrimination has resulted in debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships that are uniquely experienced by African Americans."

The movement for Reparations for Black Americans is growing, and California is again leading the way. In 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB3121, a law creating the first-ever State Task Force to study and develop Reparations for African Americans. Former State Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber, now our Secretary of State, authored AB3121.  California’s Reparations Task Force has two years to complete a three-part mission: 

  1. Investigate the history and evidence of Slavery and Jim Crow in California.
  2. Come up with ways to educate the public about California’s role in Slavery and Jim Crow.
  3. Design Reparations proposals for the California legislature to consider. 

The Task Force has nine members, including: Chair Kamilah Moore, Vice Chair Dr. Amos Brown, Senator Stephen Bradford, Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Dr. Cheryl Grills, Lisa Holder, Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis, Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe and Donald K. Tamaki.

To date, California’s first-in-the-nation Reparations Task Force has held six virtual meetings covering a broad range of issues important to Black Californians. The California Reparations Task Force is required by law to hold at least 10 public hearings. These hearings are streamed live on YouTube at ETM Media Group and online at https://oag.ca.gov/ab3121. In 2021, the Task Force approved 12 Community Listening sessions in addition to the 10 public hearings. 

Community organizations across the State are working together to make sure Black Californian’s participate in the effort to make California the first State to provide Reparations to Black Americans. Grassroots community organizations such as Coalition for a Just and Equitable California (CJEC), are partnering with community members and organizations in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino County, and the Inland Empire to ensure there is a strong and deep Black community engagement in the California Reparations effort. 

Learn more about the law (AB3121) that created California’s historic first-in-the-nation state Reparations Task Force. Read AB3121 for yourself. For more information about the California Reparations Task Force, visit https://oag.ca.gov/ab3121.  You can email the Task Force directly with your comments about Reparations at [email protected]

Our partnerships are in the process of hosting further listening sessions in Marin City, Vallejo, Oakland, San Francisco, and throughout California.  We will soon be discussing the other  organizing efforts that will be including further African American testimonies to support this California Legislation.