In January, the city's African American Reparations Advisory Committee unveiled its recommendation, arguing that the city owed compensation to Black residents for decades of discrimination, even though slavery was never legal in San Francisco.
Yet activists still claim that the city imposed decades of racist policies that economically harmed black residents.
Committee chair Eric McDonnell told The Washington Post, "There wasn’t a math formula. It was a journey for the committee towards what could represent a significant enough investment in families to put them on this path to economic well-being, growth, and vitality that chattel slavery and all the policies that flowed from it destroyed."
City supervisors claim that the proposal is unrealistic even though not all the city's 50,000 black residents would qualify for the full $5 million payment.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen told The San Francisco Chronicle in January, "I wish we had this kind of money in San Francisco’s general fund but if we want to maintain the services that exist today, we do not.”
Supervisor Shamann Walton had authored the resolution in 2020 for the city to study harm done to the city’s African American community, told the outlet that some city residents suggested using revenue from the city's Cannabis Business Tax to help fund reparations, despite the tax having been suspended for years, would not come even close to covering the $5 million per person price tag.
A hearing to discuss the reparations program was postponed last month after Walton took a weeklong vacation to Colombia and is having trouble getting home.
According to The San Francisco Standard, the board and members of the public were scheduled to discuss the committee’s plan to implement reparations but Walton told the outlet that he went to Colombia for a birthday trip with friends but his flight home was delayed.
He also deleted a picture from his Instagram taken at a Hooters restaurant in Medellín. The outlet discovered that the reparations hearing could have happened earlier than next month but was delayed by Walton.
Those wishing to make a claim under the program are required to prove at least two of eight additional criteria, choosing from a list that includes, "Born in San Francisco between 1940 and 1996 and has proof of residency in San Francisco for at least 13 years," and/or, "Personally, or the direct descendant of someone, incarcerated by the failed War on Drugs."
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