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California sets aside $12 million for nation’s largest reparations effort

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The state of California announced on Friday, June 28, that it will be allocating $12 million in its next budget to provide compensation to Black residents for racial injustices. Th effort would be the largest government-funded reparations effort of its kind in the country.

The money is a far cry from the billions of dollars that a reparations task force recommended earlier this year. However, considering the state is facing a $50 billion budget shortfall, some advocates said that they were pleased any money got allocated for reparations. Still, some said that while the money is a step in the right direction that “it’s not enough” but added that this is “the first time ever” reparations “will be a line item in a state budget.”

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Movements to compensate Black people for the wounds of slavery and segregation in the United States gained new steam following the 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands a Minneapolis police officer and the ensuing protests.

The movement has prompted expanded efforts to explore reparations across the United States. For instance, the District of Columbia’s 2025 budget proposal includes $1.5 million to study the feasibility of reparations and to come up with proposals to address the harms of slavery.

However, some efforts to compensate Black people for a history of racism have hit a roadblock. In late May, a conservative advocacy group sued to halt the country’s first ever government-funded reparations program in Evanston, Illinois. The plaintiffs argue that the effort to compensate Black residents through reparations discriminates against other ethnicities. Despite the challenge, around $5 million has already been paid out to 193 Black residents.

In another setback for reparations advocates, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a lawsuit seeking reparations for the last two survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

California’s effort to deliver on its reparations promise still face opposition from Republicans as well as some Asian and Latino lawmakers, who argue that it’s unfair to make current residents pay for the wrongs of the past.

The Golden State’s budget still doesn’t outline how the reparations will be paid out to Black residents, but state lawmakers said that it will be worked into reparations-related bills currently circulating in the Legislature.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

CALIFORNIA IS SET TO LAUNCH THE NATION’S LARGEST GOVERNMENT-FUNDED REPARATIONS EFFORT OF ITS KIND.

ALLOCATING $12 MILLION FROM ITS NEXT BUDGET FOR BLACK RESIDENTS. CITING DECADES OF RACIAL INJUSTICE.

IT’S A FAR CRY FROM THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS A TASK FORCE RECOMMENDED EARLIER THIS YEAR.  BUT CONSIDERING THE STATE’S 50 BILLION DOLLAR BUDGET SHORT-FALL– ADVOCATES SAID THEY’RE PLEASED *ANY* MONEY GOT ALLOCATED.

MOVEMENTS TO COMPENSATE BLACK PEOPLE FOR THE WOUNDS OF SLAVERY AND SEGREGATION GAINED NEW STEAM FOLLOWING THE 2020 DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD AND THE ENSUING PROTESTS.

NOW CITIES AND STATES ARE TAKING ACTION.

DC’S 2025 BUDGET PROPOSAL INCLUDES ONE-POINT-FIVE-MILLION DOLLARS TO STUDY THE FEASIBILITY OF REPARATIONS.

BUT SOME EFFORTS HAVE HIT ROADBLOCKS.

IN LATE MAY, A CONSERVATIVE ADVOCACY GROUP SUED TO STOP THE COUNTRY’S FIRST EVER GOVERNMENT-FUNDED REPARATIONS PROGRAM IN EVANSTON, ILLINOIS.

ARGUING THE EFFORT DISCRIMINATES AGAINST OTHER ETHNICITIES.

AROUND FIVE MILLION DOLLARS FROM THE PROGRAM HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID OUT TO NEARLY 200 PEOPLE.

THIS MONTH, THE OKLAHOMA SUPREME COURT STRUCK DOWN A LAWSUIT SEEKING REPARATIONS FOR THE LAST TWO SURVIVORS OF THE 1921 TULSA RACE MASSACRE.

CALIFORNIA’S EFFORT STILL FACES OPPOSITION FROM REPUBLICANS AS WELL AS SOME ASIAN AND LATINO LAWMAKERS WHO SAY IT’S UNFAIR TO MAKE CURRENT RESIDENTS PAY FOR THE WRONGS OF THE PAST. 

THE STATE BUDGET DOESN’T OUTLINE HOW THE REPARATIONS WILL BE PAID OUT BUT STATE LAWMAKERS SAY IT WILL BE WORKED INTO REPARATIONS-RELATED BILLS.

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