Five million dollar swap payments to every eligible black American adult, personal debt relief and tax relief, guaranteed annual income of at least $97,000 a year for 250 years, and San Francisco homes for only a dollar for a family.
These are just some of more than 100 recommendations prepared by a city-appointed reparations committee tasked with making proposals on the highly sensitive issue of how to atone for centuries of slavery and systemic racism.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which heard the report for the first time, enthusiastically backed all of the ideas above.
Some council members said money shouldn’t be a barrier for the city to make the right decision.
The draft reparation plan is unprecedented in the country in terms of specificity and scope. The committee did not cost the proposals, but critics have already called the plan financially and politically unfeasible.
The relatively conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University estimates that it will cost at least $600,000 for every non-black family in the city.
The unanimous support of Council members for reparations does not mean that all recommendations will eventually be accepted, as the Council can approve, reject or modify any of them. The committee’s final report should be ready by June.
Some council members have said in the past that the city cannot afford large repair payments at this time, given the severe budget shortfall amid the tech industry downturn.
Tinish Hollins, vice chair of the African American Reparations Advisory Committee, referenced the remarks, and several people reminded the board that they would be watching future actions closely.
“I don’t need to convince you that here in San Francisco we are setting a national precedent,” Hollins said. “What we ask for and what we demand is a real commitment to making things happen.”
More than half a century ago, black people made up more than 13% of the city’s population, but today that figure is less than 6%, despite being 38% among the homeless .
Fewer than 50,000 black people live in the city, and it’s unclear how many of them will be able to claim reparations.
Possible criteria include living in the city for a period of time and being from a family “imprisoned in the failed war on drugs”.
Critics say the payments make no sense in a state and city that has never enslaved black people.
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