A California reparations task force said the state owes an apology to African Americans for “enshrined white supremacy.”
The 500-page report released Wednesday details California’s alleged complicit action in perpetuating discrimination and says the state should pay reparations to those affected.
“From colonial times forward, governments at all levels adopted and enshrined white supremacy beliefs and passed laws in order to maintain slavery, a system of dehumanization and exploitation that stole the life, labor, liberty, and intellect of people of African descent,” the task force said.
“This system of white supremacy is a persistent badge of slavery that continues to be embedded today in numerous American and Californian legal, economic, and social and political systems,” the report said. “These effects of slavery continue to be embedded in American society today and have never been sufficiently remedied.”
“The governments of the United States and the State of California have never apologized to or compensated African Americans for these harms.” (RELATED: Harvard To Shell Out $100 Million To ‘Redress’ Its ‘Legacies With Slavery’)
The task force gave several preliminary recommendations, urging the state to “end legal slavery” by scrapping language from the state constitution that “permits involuntary servitude as punishment for crime,” prohibiting the use of free prison labor, making sure incarcerated individuals have access to mental health and substance treatment and allow incarcerated people the right to vote.
The task force also recommended that the state “create forms of acknowledgement and apology for acts of political disenfranchisement” and “implement a detailed program of reparations for African Americans.”
The task force was created in 2020 and is composed of nine members appointed by Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other legislative leaders. The task force members include descendants of slaves. Democratic assembly member Shirley Weber told the Associated Press at the time of the creation that the mission of the task force was to “determine the depth of the harm, and the ways in which we are to repair that harm.”