(KTXL) — Gov. Gavin Newsom did not explicitly endorse payments to some Black residents as recommended by the California Reparations Task Force earlier this month, but in a Wednesday morning statement, his spokesperson said that Newsom is “not backing away” from the payments.
An earlier statement shared with media outlets said that dealing with the nation’s history of slavery and discrimination of Black Americans “is about much more than cash payments,” a statement that neither fully supported or rejected the task force’s recommendation on monetary reparations.
“Many of the recommendations put forward by the Task Force are critical action items we’ve already been hard at work addressing…” Newsom’s Chief Communication Advisor Anthony York said in the earlier statement.
York clarified Wednesday that the governor “is not backing away from cash payments, but wants to wait for the report in its entirety to arrive on his desk before he makes any decision.”
The recommendations from the task force include financial payouts which, if approved by the California Legislature, could potentially total billions of dollars.
Newsom signed Assembly Bill 3121 in 2020 creating the council, which is assigned to study and recommend actions the state legislature should take in response to discrimination experienced by Black residents imposed by the state.
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Calculations for payments to individuals are based on systemic barriers Black residents faced, such as redlining and over-policing.
Beyond reparation payments, the task force also recommended an apology that condemns the “gravest barbarities carried out on behalf of the State,” including the California Supreme Court’s enforcement of federal fugitive slave law through 1865, the coining of the term “welfare queen” by then-California Governor Ronald Reagan, and the continued underrepresentation of African Americans in the medical field.
York said the payments issue “will be resolved” after Newsom meets with legislative leadership this summer, and that for now, the governor is “not ruling anything out.”