San Francisco reparations panel proposes $7.8m to every eligible black resident, total debt forgiveness

San Francisco reparations panel proposes $7.8m to every eligible black resident, total debt forgiveness
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A San Francisco panel studying reparations has proposed paying each eligible black long-term resident US$5 million (NZ$7,833,625) and granting total debt forgiveness due to decades of "systemic repression" they've faced.

The San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee, which is advising the city on developing a plan for reparations for black residents, has released its draft report on how it will address reparations.

The reparations aren't for slavery, since California technically wasn't a slave state, the report said, but they are to "address the public policies explicitly created to subjugate Black people in San Francisco by upholding and expanding the intent and legacy of chattel slavery".

"While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, the tenets of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were codified through legal and extralegal actions, social codes, and judicial enforcement," the report said.

Among the financial reparations is the US$5 million one-time, lump sum payment. 

"A lump sum payment would compensate the affected population for the decades of harms that they have experienced, and will redress the economic and opportunity losses that Black San Franciscans have endured, collectively, as the result of both intentional decisions and unintended harms perpetuated by City policy," the report said.

To be eligible for reparations, a person must have identified as black or African American on public documents for at least 10 years and be 18 years or older. They also must 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", "personally, or the direct descendant of someone, incarcerated by the failed War on Drugs", and "descendant of someone enslaved through US chattel slavery before 1865".

The draft report also calls for San Francisco to supplement lower-income black households' income to reflect the area median income (AMI), which is US$97,000 (NZ$151,908), annually for at least 250 years.

"Racial disparities across all metrics have led to a significant racial wealth gap in the City of San Francisco. By elevating income to match AMI, Black people can better afford housing and achieve a better quality of life," the report said.

The plan also wants to provide access to financial education from beginner to advanced levels and establish a debt forgiveness program that clears all educational, personal, credit card, and payday loans.

"Black households are more likely to hold costlier, riskier debt, and are more likely to have outstanding student loan debt," the report said.

"When this is combined with lower household incomes, it can create an inescapable cycle of debt. Eliminating this debt gives Black households an opportunity to build wealth."

The reparations committee submitted the draft proposal to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on December 23. They haven't yet received feedback from the board or heard when the board will schedule a hearing to formally discuss the plan, the committee told Fox News Digital.

Board of Supervisors president Aaron Peskin said he hopes the plan is approved.

"There are so many efforts that result in incredible reports that just end up gathering dust on a shelf," he told the San Francisco Chronicle

"We cannot let this be one of them."