‘We’re not asking, we’re telling’: Activist demands every black Californian get $350k in reparations

A reparations task force convened by California Gov. Gavin Newsom conducted its first public hearing on Wednesday in Oakland, and it was a doozy.

During the hearing, several local black residents spoke up about why they believe every black Californian is owed piles of taxpayer-funded cash.

Take Max Fennell. A 35-year-old coffee company owner, he called for every black Californian to receive $350,000 in reparations, in addition to another $250,000 if they own a business, as reported by the Associated Press.

That comes out to $600,000 total per black business owner.

“It’s a debt that’s owed. We worked for free. We’re not asking. We’re telling you,” Fennell reportedly said in his own words.

“The tangibles of what I’m asking for is $350,000 per black American in California that’s tangible, small business grant $250,000 and land 15-20 acres,” he added.

Meanwhile, failed California Senate candidate Deon Jenkins “said that any money designed to counter-act housing discrimination should be in line with the average price of a home in the state, around $800,000,” according to the Daily Mail.

Speaking third, Richmond City Council member Demnlus Johnson III just expressed shock at the idea that reparations are finally being discussed publicly.

“You have to name a problem in order to address it. Of course, we want to see it addressed now, the urgency is now, but just having it all aired out and put on the line is a major feat,” he reportedly said.

Albeit a major feat that most Americans oppose.

A University of Massachusetts Amherst/WCVB poll conducted last year found that two-thirds of Americans oppose cash reparations.

“Four hundred years since Africans were forcibly brought to the shores of America, 245 years since the 3/5th Compromise and 156 years since freed African Americans were promised 40 acres and a mule, a majority of Americans express an unwillingness to pay the descendants of slaves for the nation’s original sin,” the director of the poll, Tatishe Nteta, angrily said at the time.

This didn’t stop Newsom from convening a reparations committee. Nor did it stop the committee from recently decreeing that California residents who are the descendants of slaves are owed an estimated $223,200 in reparations each, or $569 billion total.

Those Californians specifically eligible for the reparations, assuming this plan was ever approved by the state legislature, “would be descendants of enslaved African Americans or of a ‘free Black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century,’” The New York Times reported earlier this month, quoting the task force.

According to the Times, the $569 billion estimate would cover the reparations allegedly owed for housing discrimination that occurred between 1933 and 1977.

That said, the $223,200 per person figure would be a maximum limit, not the actual amount received by each black individual.

“In reality, that number would be minimized when you take into account the fact that the task force decided in March that the community of eligibility would be lineage based rather than race-based,” the task force’s chair, entertainment lawyer Kamilah Moore, said in an interview Tuesday.

“When you really look at who was really impacted by housing discrimination during that particular time period it most likely won’t be all black folks,” she added.

However, the Times further noted earlier this month that the task force had also identified other “areas” of compensation, including mass incarceration, unjust property seizures, and devaluation of black businesses and health care.

It’s not clear how much higher the $569 million total cap would go once the other “areas” of compensation are factored into the equation. All that’s known is that the task force has until the summer of 2023 to submit its final recommendations.

Moreover, the task force also has yet to decide “how reparations should be distributed — some favor tuition and housing grants while others want direct cash payments,” according to the Times.

The “nine-member Reparations Task Force has spent months traveling across California to learn about the generational effects of racist policies and actions,” the Times noted.

“The group, formed by legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020, is scheduled to release a report to lawmakers in Sacramento next year outlining recommendations for state-level reparations,” according to the Times.

In a separate interview, Moore reportedly stressed the need for a “Bureau of African American Affairs” to handle any reparations payments.


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