The proposal made clear that San Francisco never “formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery” but that “the tenets of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were codified through legal and extralegal actions, social codes, and judicial enforcement.”
Therefore the proposed reparations are “not to remedy enslavement, but to address the public policies explicitly created to subjugate Black people in San Francisco.”
To be eligible to receive the reparations, the panel’s proposal stated that applicants must be at least 18 years old and have identified as black or African-American on public documents for minimally 10 years.
In addition, applicants have to prove that they meet two out of eight additional requirements from a list that includes being born or having migrated to the city between 1940 and 1996 with proof of residency for at least 13 years, being a personal or direct descendant of someone “incarcerated by the failed War on Drugs,” or being a personal or direct descendant of someone enslaved before 1865.
Under this draft proposal, each eligible San Francisco resident would receive a one-time payment of $5 million. The committee’s “rationale” was that “a lump sum payment would compensate the affected population for the decades of harms that they have experienced, and will redress the economic and opportunity losses that Black San Franciscans have endured, collectively, as the result of both intentional decisions and unintended harms perpetuated by City policy.”
The committee also recommended complete debt forgiveness by wiping out “all educational, personal, credit card, payday loans, etc.” According to the panel, “Black households are more likely to hold costlier, riskier debt, and are more likely to have outstanding student loan debt. When this is combined with lower household incomes, it can create an inescapable cycle of debt. Eliminating this debt gives Black households an opportunity to build wealth.”
The proposal did not detail the estimated cost of the reparations.
“There are so many efforts that result in incredible reports that just end up gathering dust on a shelf,” Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We cannot let this be one of them.”
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