In a stunning turn of events, the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP has come out in opposition to a reparations proposal for cash payments to the city’s Black residents in an effort to atone for the lingering damages from slavery.
A city-appointed committee proposed $5 million payouts to Black adults who are descendants of enslaved people with a guaranteed annual income of at least $97,000 for 250 years. The committee also proposed the elimination of personal debt and homes in San Francisco with a price tag of just $1 a family.
But while it appeared the movement was gaining momentum, the NAACP San Francisco Branch tweeted a statement on Tuesday bashing the reparations proposal. Instead, the NAACP San Francisco Branch offered its own reparations proposal that does not include cash payments.
“We strongly believe that creating and funding programs that can improve the lives of those who have been impacted by racism and discrimination is the best path forward toward equality and justice,” San Francisco NAACP President Amos Brown said in a statement posted to Twitter.
The statement specifically “called on the Board of Supervisors to reject a one-time $5 million reparation payment to Blacks.”
Brown’s statement came hours after a hearing with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The committee discussed more than 100 recommendations, many of which were passionately supported by the board.
Although San Francisco is a fairly liberal city, the plan to give descendants of slaves reparations has been met with an abundance of pushback.
Stanford University’s Hoover Institution has estimated that a big idea like this would cost every non-Black family in the city at least $600,000. Others claim the city can not afford reparations payments, citing the tech industry downturn as the reason the city doesn’t have the funds. Others have also stated that since San Francisco wasn’t a city that had slaves, Black residents shouldn’t be eligible for reparations.
But some supervisors on the committee, although surprised by their colleagues’ ignorance, say racist policies continue to keep Black Americans down.
“Those of my constituents who lost their minds about this proposal, it’s not something we’re doing or we would do for other people. It’s something we would do for our future, for everybody’s collective future,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman told ABC News.
Even though many of the reparations recommendations were supported by the board, it doesn’t mean they will be adopted. Each recommendation will be voted on and can be approved or rejected. A final report is expected to be released in June.
The San Francisco reparations plan will set the stage for how reparations could be handled at the federal level.
“I don’t need to impress upon you the fact that we are setting a national precedent here in San Francisco,” said Tinisch Hollins, vice-chair of the African American Reparations Advisory Committee. “What we are asking for and what we’re demanding for is a real commitment to what we need to move things forward.”
Currently, California is pushing the topic into the spotlight with its state-backed reparations task force committee.
In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to begin a two-year exploration and hopefully a solid plan on what reparations might look like for Black Americans living in the Golden State. The initiative was also designed to reflect on slavery’s harsh past and its current effect on Black Americas living in the United States. Committee members are expected to deliver a final reparations proposal by July.
Polling shows that 77% of Black Americans support reparations to descendants of enslaved people while 17% of white people do not.