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Building Toward Justice: California Legislative Black Caucus Pursues Ambitious 2024 Reparations Agenda 

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Following the release of the groundbreaking Reparations Task Force Report last summer, the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) recently announced an ambitious legislative agenda for 2024 with its introduction of “the Reparations Priority Bill Package”. It is the first step in what the caucus says will be a multi-year effort to implement its legislative recommendations.

“While many only associate direct cash payments with reparations, the true meaning of the word, to repair, involves much more! As laid out in the report, we need a comprehensive approach to dismantling the legacy of slavery and systemic racism, said Assemblywoman Lori D. Wilson, Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus.’

The legislative initiative spans crucial areas, such as criminal justice reform, property redress, education, civil rights, and food justice–all aimed at correcting historical injustices faced by Black Californians.

“The Caucus is looking to make strides in the second half of this legislative session as we build towards righting the wrongs of California’s past in future sessions. One of the most powerful aspects of the Reparations Tasks Force Report was the detailed discussion of how laws in California were crafted to directly cause harm to its Black residents”, Wilson continued. “That harm touched every aspect of their lives and many of those harms are still felt by Black Californians generations later.” 

Consequently, the Caucus intends introduce a bill calling for an official apology from both the governor and the legislative body for California’s involvement in the human rights abuses and atrocities committed against African slaves and their descendants.

 “As a member of the Reparations Taskforce, I am proud of the two-year study that resulted in two separate reports totaling over 1,600 pages,” said Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones- Sawyer, Sr. These reports contain the most comprehensive empirical data and historical evidence ever collected on the issue of chattel slavery. 

There is no doubt about the far-reaching negative impacts of bigoted laws born from the end of slavery in our country. Hundreds of legislative and budgetary reparatory recommendations were made within the final report and I, along with the members of the Black Caucus, look forward to working with our legislative colleagues to achieve true reparations and justice for all black Californians.”

 Secretary of State, Dr. Shirley Weber applauded the group’s efforts. 

“As the author of AB 3121, I am pleased that the California Legislative Black Caucus has picked up the baton and is moving the state forward in addressing the recommendations delivered to them seven months ago,” Weber stated. “I am optimistic and encouraged by the work and look forward to amazing and groundbreaking outcomes. The nation is waiting for us to lead. And as California always does, we will lead in addressing a delayed justice called Reparations.”

 The following 14 measures have been or will be introduced from the 2024 CLBC Reparation Priority Bill Package. For information on each measure, please reach out to the respective legislators’ office.

AB 1929 (Tina McKinnor) – Expand access to career technical education by creating a competitive grant program to increase enrollment of descendants in STEM-related CTE programs at the high school and college levels.

AB XXX (McCarty) – Career Education Financial Aid for redlined communities Civil Rights 

ACA 7 (Jackson) – Amends the California Constitution to allow the State to fund programs for the purpose of increasing the life expectancy of, improving educational outcomes for, or lifting out of poverty specific groups. 

ACR 135 (Akilah Weber) – Formally recognizes and accepts responsibility for all of the harms and atrocities committed by representatives of the state who promoted, facilitated, enforced and permitted the institution of chattel slavery. 

AB 1815 (Akilah Weber) – Prohibit discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles in all competitive sports by extending the CROWN Act to include competitive sports within California. 

SB XXX (Steven Bradford) – Property takings: Restore property taken during racebased uses of eminent domain to its original owners or provide another effective remedy where appropriate, such as restitution or compensation. 

AB XXX (Reggie Jones-Sawyer) – Issues a formal apology for human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants. 

ACA8 (Lori Wilson)-Amend the California Constitution to prohibit involuntary servitude for incarcerated persons. 

AB 1986 (Isaac Bryan) – Eliminate the CDCR practice of banning books without oversight and review. 

ABXXX (Reggie Jones-Sawyer)-Fund community-driven solutions to decrease community violence at the family. school and neighborhood levels in African American communities by establishing a statefunded grant program.

AB XXX (Chris Holden) – Mandela Act: Restricts solitary confinement within CDCR detention facilities. 

AB 1975 (Mia Bonta) – Make medically supportive food and nutrition interventions, when deemed medically necessary by healthcare providers, a permanent part of Medi-Cal benefits in California. 

SB XXX (Smallwood-Cuevas) – Address food injustice by requiring advance notification to community stakeholders prior to the closure of a grocery store in underserved or at-risk communities. 

AB XXX (Mike Gipson) – Eliminate barriers to licensure for people with criminal records and prioritize African American applicants seeking occupational licenses, especially those who are descendants. 

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