House Democrat Backs California Reparations Push

A prominent California Democrat backed her state’s potential plan to implement reparation payments for Black residents. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said that such reparations payments are “long overdue.”

The Democrat said that such payments are “not a luxury for our people, but a human right long overdue for millions of Americans.”

The representative made the statement while meeting with the state’s Reparations Task Force this week.

Lee added that the “atrocities committed against Black Americans are undeniable, and reparations are a tangible route to acknowledging and making amends” for a number of “impacts of slavery and systemic racism.”

“We must repair this damage,” she added.

Lee is considering a run for the U.S. Senate to replace outgoing Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who is retiring at the end of next year.

The California Democrat called for “all lawmakers and citizens to support federal and state-level legislation that aims to provide reparations for those who have historically been marginalized and had to deal with the impact of hundreds of years of being enslaved.”

The state’s task force was tasked with determining the amount that California, a state that barred slavery, should pay to its Black residents. Following a number of public statements, the panel recently estimated an average payment of about $1.2 million per person.

However, during the same meeting that Lee spoke at, activists called for the state to increase the potential payments. One speaker called for each Black resident to receive $200 million.

The state’s actions also coincide with a push for reparations by San Francisco.

The city will consider a plan that could include both an initial $5 million payment, as well as almost $100,000 in annual payments to its Black residents.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who signed the reparations task force into existence in 2020, has not signaled whether he would support the implementation of such plans.

The current $1.2 million per person proposal is above the initial $360,000 estimate. Activists have pressured the governor and former San Francisco mayor to support reparations. California currently faces a projected deficit of more than $20 billion.