Thursday, October 6, 2022

California Gov. Newsom Signs Law to Categorize Black Americans for Reparations Claims

Gavin Newsom - signing Reparations Task Force Documents
Gavin Newsom – signing Reparations Task Force Documents

*California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that aims to support lineage-based reparations claims. 

The bill will authorize the State Controller’s Office and the Department of Human Resources to collect demographic data from Black employees in an effort to identify who has immigrant origins and who descends from enslaved people in the United States, NPR reports.

According to a press release from CJEC, Senate Bill 189 (SB-189) was authored by the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California (CJEC) and championed by California State Assemblymember Chris Holden. 

“For the first time in California and American history, a specific category of data collection will be required for African Americans who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States and living in California, starting with the state’s 2.5 million employees,” the release states. “For the first time since Reconstruction, the political status of American Freedmen is being recognized by the state of California.”

READ MORE: Reparations Supporters: All Black Americans Should Read Calif. Task Force First Report | VIDEO

As reported by Moguldom, the bill will separate Black Africans and Foundational Black Americans into the following subgroups and beyond:

  • (1) African Americans who are descendants of persons who were enslaved in the United States.
  • (2) Blacks who are not descendants of persons who were enslaved in the United States, including, but not limited to, African Blacks, Caribbean Blacks, and other Blacks.
  • (3) Unknown or choose not to identify.

The legislation aims to help Black Californians determine their lineage to support reparations claims.

“…This legislation begins the process of recognizing the identity and peoplehood of African Americans/American Freedmen in California whose ancestors came to America in chains, were enslaved for hundreds of years, suffered Jim Crow, and yet managed to build the most powerful and wealthiest country in the world,” NPR quoted a statement from the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California.

“Passing SB189, specifically section 14 which we wrote, feels like a generational step forward for our people, for the state, and for the country,” said CJEC lead organizer Chris Lodgson. “This is a major step forward, with much more to come. We are a specific group of people and we need and deserve to be recognized as such, for reparations and for everything else we are owed. I’m thankful for CJEC, our community and supporters, Assemblymember Chris Holden and Governor Newsom for making this happen.”

California is the first state to collect data that will categorize Black employees by lineage. The coalition’s statement said the law “is a model for states and localities across the country seeking to take serious steps toward repairing the damage done to the identities and livelihoods of African Americans/American Freedmen for over 400 years.”

“It passed and I’m so glad it did, and it’s so interesting hearing commentary from non-Black people in particular about the disaggregation,” Khansa Jones-Muhammad told Moguldom.

“When you look at the Black descendant community, almost like the AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] community before it was disaggregated, I think you’re going to find a similar reality with the disaggregation of the African American community,” Jones-Muhammad continued.

The policy allowing state agencies to collect data from Black Californians will fully take effect by 2024, according to the report.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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