Alliance for Reparations, Reconciliation, and Truth (ARRT)Response to the California Legislative Black Caucus’sReparations Bill Package

The Alliance for Reparations, Reconciliation, and Truth (ARRT), a historic collaboration of California’s leading Black power-building and justice groups, shared its positions on the various measures in the Reparations Priority Bill Package introduced by the California Legislative Black Caucus.

The Alliance for Reparations, Reconciliation, and Truth (ARRT) is engaging Californians on these general positions: (1) Reparations should be impactful, transformative, long-lasting, and comprehensive, in accordance with the five United Nations principles for reparations; (2) Based on the UN principles, it is incomplete to equate reparations solely with financial compensation; (3) To be consistent with AB3121, reparations are not just about dealing with the harm from enslavement but also the post-enslavement harms that continue to this day; and (4) Reparations measures for Black Americans, particularly those focused on systemic reforms and investments in communities, have broad-based support, including from other ethnic groups such as Asian Americans and Latinos.

ARRT is a collaboration between the Black Equity Collective, the California Black Power Network, Catalyst California, Equal Justice Society, Live Free California, and former members of the California Reparations Task Force, such as Dr. Cheryl Grills, Lisa Holder, Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis, and Donald Tamaki.

ARRT POSITIONS ON MEASURES

ARRT supports the following policies introduced by the California Legislative Black Caucus:

  • Restitution/Compensation:
    • AB 2064 (Jones-Sawyer) — Fund community-driven solutions to decrease community violence at the family, school, and neighborhood levels in African American communities by establishing a state-funded grant program.
    • SB 1050 (Bradford) — Property takings: Restore property taken during race-based uses of eminent domain to its original owners or provide another effective remedy where appropriate, such as restitution or compensation.
    • SB 1013 (Bradford) — Establish the Property Tax Assistance for Descendants of Enslaved Persons Program to make grants available to persons who currently live in a formerly redlined neighborhood in the state and are descendants of a person enslaved in the United States.
      • Note: This bill alone is not enough and more needs to be done (especially for renters) to address the full scope and scale of housing segregation and discrimination as outlined in the task force report recommendations.
  • Satisfaction:
    • ACR 135 (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 3089 (Jones-Sawyer) — Issues a formal apology for human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants.
  • The Guarantee of Non-repetition:
    • ACA 8 (Wilson) — Amend the California Constitution to prohibit involuntary servitude for incarcerated persons.
    • AB 1815 (Weber) — Prohibit discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles in all competitive sports by extending the CROWN Act to explicitly include competitive sports within California.

ARRT believes that reparations should bring about transformative, systemic, and long-lasting policy solutions that change the lives of Black Californians and policy solutions that address all five of the United Nations reparations principles and be aligned with the recommendations provided by the California Reparations Task Force Report.

The five UN reparations principles are:

  • Restitution should restore the victim to their original position or situation before harm and human rights violations occur. It includes restoration of liberty, enjoyment of human rights, identity, family life, citizenship, and property return.
  • Compensation is economic compensation proportional to the gravity of the violation that is meant to account for mental, physical, or other material and long-term harms like lost opportunities or wages.
  • Rehabilitation should include medical and psychological care and legal and social services. We look forward to future policies that address the principle of rehabilitation as part of a comprehensive reparations policy package.
  • Satisfaction includes acknowledgment, public disclosure, apology for the harm, and commemorations and tributes to the victims.
  • The guarantee of non-repetition should include reviewing and reforming laws that contribute to or allow severe and gross violations of international human rights law.

STATEMENTS BY ARRT LEADERSHIP

James Woodson, Co-founder and Executive Director of the California Black Power Network:

“The California Legislative Black Caucus reparations package marks a historic and meaningful moment in time. ARRT encourages lawmakers to pursue an even more expansive and definitive action to fulfill the reparations principles as recognized by the United Nations. Reparative justice must be impactful, transformative, and enduring, thus paving the way toward atoning for the wrongdoings deeply imprinted in the state’s history and healing this democracy.”

Lisa Holder, former member of the California Reparations Task Force, and President of the Equal Justice Society:

“The continuing and cascading harm of anti-Black discrimination costs taxpayers trillions annually. As a fiscal matter, it is too costly not to act. The fight for reparations will not wane until justice is seared into the core of the legal system, guaranteeing full cessation from and no return to anti-Black discriminatory laws and practices. Reparations is not just about a check in the mail, it’s also about systems change as the quintessential step toward repair and healing for Black Californians and inclusive democracy for all Californians.”

Pat Parker, Senior Leader, Policy and Advocacy, Black Equity Collective:

“Our country and world are at an inflection point – where the inequities that have been present for centuries are surfacing again for transformational remedy. Where we go from here – whether we paper over, band-aid, or finally dig them up at the root — is up to us. Reparations is also an opportunity for reconciliation for all Californians who embrace inclusive democracy.”

John Dobard, Vice President of Policy and Programs at Catalyst California:

“The CLBC package represents another step forward in the fight for justice for the historical harms perpetrated against Black Americans. These harms are not only a part of the country’s past but have clear and direct impacts on the country’s present and future. We look forward to engaging with legislators and working with Black-led community partners to achieve reparations and remove the vestiges of slavery present in our state’s policies and practices.”

Pastor Mike McBridge, Executive Director, Live Free USA:

“Reparations are not merely a policy proposition or a political bargaining chip, but a moral imperative to redress a multi-generational debt owed to California Black residents. Real reparations must bring systemic transformation and repair historic harms—this is non-negotiable. Historically, African Americans have opened the door for the expansion of civil rights but were left holding the door while all other groups walked through it. By centering African Americans for reparations, we can ensure that this time we all walk through the door together.”

Dr. Cheryl Grills, former member of the California Reparations Task Force, and Loyola Marymount University Professor of Psychology, Director of their Psychology Applied Research Center, and President’s Professor in their College of Liberal Arts:

“For too long reparations have been justice delayed which, as Dr. King noted, is justice denied. We have finally arrived at a critical moment wherein justice can be delivered. The harms from enslavement and their cross generational legacies were multifaceted. No doubt, the repair must be equally multifaceted, layered, and capable of promoting systemic/institutional remedies. This is necessary if we are to strike a blow to structural racism, the offspring of African enslavement. This initial CLBC package represents a step in the right direction.”

Donald K. Tamaki, former member of the California Reparations Task Force and Senior Counsel, Minami Tamaki LLP:

“We have a societal obligation to repair the harms that began in 1619 and continued through every chapter of American history thereafter, right to the present day. We call upon the Legislature to develop a feasible approach, spanning years, in good economies and bad, to study the 115-plus recommendations and address the harms that have been decades, if not centuries, in the making.”

For further information about ARRT and to support the mission for reparations, visit alliancefor.org.

Contact Information:
Lanae Norwood (for California Black Power Network)
323-207-8580, communications@blackpowernetwork.org
Keith Kamisugi, Equal Justice Society
415-288-8710, kkamisugi@equaljusticesociety.org