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Reparations for Black San Francisco Residents Could Be $5 Million if Proposal Is Accepted

Made by SF’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee, the proposal would give $5 million to eligible Black residents in the city.

San Francisco’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee (AARAC) presented a proposal last month that would give eligible Black residents a one-time $5 million payment if passed.

In a report from the SFist, the committee recently shared its first draft recommendations for financial compensation for Black residents, with one of them being the proposed $5 million payment. The draft states that the amount could cover “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.”

“While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, 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,” the draft states.

Per SFist, in order for a resident to be eligible they “either a) was born in San Francisco between 1940 and 1996; b) can prove they are a descendant of someone enslaved through U.S. chattel slavery before 1865; or c) has lived in SF for over 13 years and is someone, or is the direct descendant of someone, incarcerated as a result of the failed War on Drugs.”

“This reparations process gives us a chance to look at the many ways, not just economically, that harm can and should be repaired,” AARAC vice chair Tinisch Hollins said in a separate report from The San Francisco Chronicle. “And even though San Francisco has passed policies that touch on the legacy of slavery, we have needed something that goes toward quantifying that harm.”

However, it’ll be some time before a decision is made, with the committee submitting its final proposal to city leaders in June. Aside from this recommendation, SFist noted other suggestions the committee offered, including the city committing to bringing the earnings up of all low-income Black residents to the area median for 250 years, as well as forgiving credit card, student loan, and/or home mortgage debt.

Since news of the proposal was reported, conservative and right-wing media outlets and politicians have spoken dismissively about it. Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds called the proposal “patently unfair,” and accused the city’s Democratic leadership of trying to “divide their constituents further under a pretense of racial equity.”

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