The California Task Force to Investigate and Develop Proposals for Redress for African Americans held its first public meeting on June 1.
The virtual meeting marked the official launch of the nation’s first initiative organized to examine how a state participated in and benefited from slavery and how it practiced or tolerated racial discrimination and excluded African Americans from economic and other opportunities.
During the four-hour meeting, the nine-member task force elected Kamilah V. Moore, a Los Angeles-based activist and lawyer, to chair it. The group also elected Pastor Dr. Amos Brown, pastor of the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco and president of the San Francisco NAACP branch, as vice chairman.
The newly elected executives represent a cross-generational team that connects the generation of millennials and baby boomers known for their often contradicting worldviews.
Moore, who passed the California bar exam in January, intends to use her study of national and international human rights to provide a perspective “like the recommendations with international standards for the redress, including all reparations, for wrongful violations caused by the state and special member actions as understood by various international protocol laws and outcomes, ”she said.
In her tenure as Chair, Moore says she will provide expertise “How the State of California, on behalf of the Californian people, issued a formal apology for the continuation of grave human rights abuses and crimes against humanity against black Americans resulting from the slavery of movable property.” in the United States.”
As a history buff and student of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights veteran Brown dedicated more than six decades of his life to the struggle for racial justice and equality.
“I am concerned about our people and about making sure we give what is theirs to the sons and daughters of Africa,” Brown said.
The task force will work with the California Department of Justice to investigate and make recommendations for compensation based on the requirements of Assembly Bill 3121, the legislation that paved the way for the task force to be established.
The Restitution Task Force will work with renowned researchers and scholars to quantify and qualify the harm caused by slavery to African Americans in California. The collaborators will conduct extensive research to examine the economic, educational, and social injustices suffered by the descendants of enslaved blacks in the United States.
Kirsten Mullen and William A. Darity, Jr., co-authors of From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century, will provide general guidance on how the state should carry out reparations.
History professor Stacy Smith will offer her expertise on the effects of slavery on California and how racial injustices affected the descendants of enslaved Africans.
Marne Campbell, Professor of African Studies at Loyola Marymount University, will lead a research team made up of students to produce a report on various state and state laws, regulations, policies, and practices that discriminate against African Americans.
“We must be aggressive, honest and direct in our efforts to find out what to do in California and set an example to the rest of the nation,” said California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who drafted the bill when she was a member of the congregation that represented the 79th district in the San Diego area.
Weber said the inaugural meeting was a historic moment that was 400 years overdue for African Americans.
“It is time people recognized the damage that has been done, the damage that is still being done,” Weber said.
“We are here today because the racism of slavery created an unjust system and legacy of racial harm and inequality that continues to this day in every aspect of our lives,” she said.
“We’re here today, not just to find an answer, to say, ‘Has it done any harm?’ But your job is to determine the depth of the damage and how we can fix that damage, ”Weber told the task force.
In addition to Brown and Moore, other task force members include Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena); Congregation member Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Gardena); Cheryl Grills, a clinical psychologist; Lisa Holder, Racial and Social Justice Attorney; Jovan Lewis, a social scientist who focuses on racial and economic differences; Monica Montgomery Steppe, San Diego City Councilor; and Donald Tamaki, an attorney who worked on the landmark case that obtained redress for Japanese internment camp victims.
The task force is expected to hold a public follow-up meeting in July to finalize the scope of their study – and how they will advance the reparation talk in California.