In The News

San Francisco Accepts Draft Reparations Plan That Shells Out $5 Million To Black Residents

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors moved Tuesday night to accept a draft reparations proposal that would provide eligible black residents with one-time $5 million payments.

The Board of Supervisors did not move to enact the proposal’s policy recommendations at the meeting, with its final form not due until June, the outlet reported. The draft proposal calls for making reparations payments to people meeting two of multiple qualifications including having been incarcerated in the “failed War on Drugs” or being descendant or someone who was, being descended of someone enslaved before 1865 and being displaced by the city’s 1954-1973 urban renewal project or one of their descendants.

The draft plan suggests supplementing lower-income African-American households’ incomes to reflect the Area Median Income annually for at least 250 years, which would have meant $97,000 payments in 2022, saying “Racial disparities across all metrics have led to a significant racial wealth gap in the City of San Francisco.” It recommends converting public housing units into condominiums that qualifying residents could buy into for $1.

Being born in San Francisco or migrating there between 1940 and 1996 and living there for at least 13 years, facing certain forms of housing market discrimination attending San Francisco public schools before they were totally desegregated would also contribute to eligibility, the plan says.

“San Francisco’s international reputation as a progressive gem is undermined by its legacy of mistreatment, violence towards and documented racism against black Americans,” San Francisco Human Rights Commission Economic Rights Director Brittni Chicuata, who leads the African American Reparations Advisory Committee staff, said at the hearing. She read comments made by community members.

“San Francisco is a sanctuary city for everyone except for us,” a commenter reportedly declared.

San Francisco’s 1989 Sanctuary Ordinance generally bans city employees from using its public funds or resources to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement enforce federal immigration law unless mandated by federal or state law. City employees are prohibited from asking about someone’s immigration status when they apply for city benefits or services outside of federal or state rules or court requirements.

Another commenter said black communities were previously ineligible for mortgages as white communities and others purchased land for “pennies on the dollar” due to restrictive covenants, according to Chicuata.

A commenter said they had owned a business and paid their taxes but been displaced from San Francisco, Chicuata reported, while a different community member said the foster care system had destroyed black families in the city and victims deserve to be compensated.

“We’re demanding that San Francisco redress those public policies explicitly created to subjugate its black residents,” Chicuata said.

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Trevor Schakohl

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Trevor Schakohl

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