How Education May Play a Role in Reparations for Black Californians

The California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans has released a report that presents an in-depth overview of the harms inflicted on African Americans in California and across the nation due to the ongoing legacy of slavery and systemic discrimination. The interim report includes a preliminary set of recommendations to the California Legislature.

“Without accountability, there is no justice. For too long, our nation has ignored the harms that have been — and continue to be — inflicted on African Americans in California and across the country,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “California was not a passive actor in perpetuating these harms. We must double down on our efforts to address discrimination in our state and nation and take a hard look at our own history, including at the California Department of Justice. This interim report is a historic step by the State of California to acknowledge the insidious effects of slavery and ongoing systemic discrimination, recognize the state’s failings, and move toward rectifying the harm.”

The task force recommends establishing 10 new state government offices to oversee the administration of reparations, including an Office of African American/Freedmen Affairs to help people file claims for compensation and an Office of Freedmen Genealogy to help people prove their eligibility.

The task force offered several recommendations involving education that might be included in any reparations package. These include free tuition for descendants of the enslaved at state colleges and universities, college scholarships for African American students, anti-bias training for teachers, the adoption of a K-12 Black studies curriculum that introduces students to concepts of race and racial identity, and programs so students may attend, public schools based on factors independent of their parents’ income level and ability to afford housing in a particular neighborhood or city.

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