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California Will Be First State to Break Down Black Employee Data by Ethnic Origin

Recently, disaggregation of Black data has been a top priority for some Black lawmakers and advocates supporting reparations for Black descendants of American slavery in California. In January, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), introduced AB 1604, the Upward Mobility Act of 2022, legislation that will require the state to breakdown the data of state employees by ethnic origin.

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Disaggregated data refers to the separation of compiled information into smaller units to clarify underlying trends and patterns.
Disaggregated data refers to the separation of compiled information into smaller units to clarify underlying trends and patterns.

By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

When Gov. Gavin Newsom presented the annual May revision of his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, he announced that California will establish new demographic categories when collecting data pertaining to the ethnic origin of Black state employees.

Kamilah A. Moore, the chairperson of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, said the breakdown of data is “amazing news.”

“California will become the first state in the nation to disaggregate data for its Black population by ancestry/lineage,” Moore posted on her Twitter page on May 13. “This will assist the task force in our efforts to develop comprehensive reparations proposals for descendants.”

Disaggregated data refers to the separation of compiled information into smaller units to clarify underlying trends and patterns. Newsom’s actions are similar to a bill authored by then-Assemblyman Rob Bonta.

In September 2016, former Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1726 into law that required the state Department of Public Health to separate demographic data it collects by ethnicity or ancestry for Native Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Islander groups.

Recently, disaggregation of Black data has been a top priority for some Black lawmakers and advocates supporting reparations for Black descendants of American slavery in California. In January, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), introduced AB 1604, the Upward Mobility Act of 2022, legislation that will require the state to breakdown the data of state employees by ethnic origin.

The Assembly Committee on Appropriations is currently reviewing the bill.

AB 1604 promotes mobility for people of color in California’s civil services system and requires diversity on state boards and commissions. Newsom vetoed AB 105 last year, the legislative forerunner to AB 1604, which Holden also introduced.

Shortly after he was appointed chair of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations in January, Holden reintroduced the legislation as AB 1604.

Holden, a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus, said AB 1604 will give the Reparations Task Force more accurate data to utilize in its study and deliberations. The bill was passed by the Assembly Committee on Public Employment and Retirement on March 14.

In a written statement released in October last year, Newsom said he vetoed AB 105 because “the bill conflicts with existing constitutional requirements, labor, agreements, and current data collections efforts” but found disaggregation useful for dissecting data about California’s workforce.

As stated in his 2022-2023 May revision of the state budget, under the section titled “State Workforce Demographic Data Collection,” Newsom proposed the separation of Black employee data beginning with the state’s 2.5 million-plus employees.

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) will work with the State Controller to establish new demographic categories for the collection of data pertaining to the ancestry or ethnic origin of African American employees.

The collection of this data, the document states, “continues CalHR’s duties to maintain statistical information necessary for the evaluation of equal employment opportunity and upward mobility within state civil service.”

In March, the nine-member Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans decided with a 5-4 vote that lineage will determine who will be eligible for reparations.

The May revision also includes $1.5 million in funding for the Department of Justice to continue supporting the work of the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans

Supporters of disaggregation say it will serve as a key tool for the task force as it enters its second year of studying slavery and its lingering effects on African Americans.

The state’s reparations task force will recommend what compensation should be and how it should be paid by July 2023.

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

Black Women Win State Primaries, Secure Spots on November Ballot

“The June 7 primary election was another demonstration of the consistency of Black Women in the political process,” said Kellie Todd, founding convener of the Black Women’s Collective (BWC), an organization of Black women leaders and advocates working in politics, business, entertainment, health care and other professions across the state.

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Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media, Black women, political office, every level, state of California, June 7 primary election, won the minds and the hearts, diverse groups of Californians, November general election ballot, political organizers, Black women, fully engaged in California’s political process, succeed against stiff competition, demonstration of the consistency of Black Women, political process, Kellie Todd, Black Women’s Collective (BWC), organization of Black women leaders, advocates, politics, business, entertainment, health care, cast our votes, on the ballot at every level, diverse communities, Black Californians, 26.9% of all candidates, June 7 primary ballots, U.S. House seats, 2.6 million African Americans, state population of 39.5 million, Bay Area, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), comfortable lead, reelection bid, Republican challenger Stephen Slauson, Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton, declared victory, county’s chief law enforcement officer, Mary Knox, District Attorney, first woman, first African American, County’s 167-year history, only African American district attorney in California, make all Californians safer, decimated entire communities, separated families, relegated generations of Black and Brown communities as second-class citizens, reduce racial disparities, real safety, mail-in ballots, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37), better-funded, billionaire opponent, Rick Caruso, Los Angeles mayor’s race, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, ballots postmarked by Election Day, statewide races, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, Republican Rob Bernosky, Malia Cohen, State Board of Equalization, State Controller, Lanhee Chen, only Republican, California Controller Betty Yee, 37th Congressional District seat, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry, State Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), Secretary of State’s office, Republican Ronda Kennedy, 30th Congressional District (Burbank), Democrat G “Maebe A. Girl” Pudlo, Adam Schiff (D-San Diego), 43rd Congressional District, incumbent Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), Republican Omar Navarro, Black Republican Tamika Hamilton, incumbent Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), District 6 congressional seat, Sacramento, Yolo counties, special election for the 11th District Assembly seat, Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City), Jenny Lailani Callison, large financial backing, special interests, State Assembly races, Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego), 79th District, Assembly District in Oakland, Assemblymember Mia Bonta, State Senate race for the 28th District, Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D), Cheryl C. Turner (D)
Black women running for political office on every level across the state of California.

By Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌, California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

Black women running for political office on every level across the state of California showed up strong during the state’s June 7 primary election. They won the minds and the hearts of diverse groups of Californians and drew the numbers they needed to secure spots on the November general election ballot.

The results, some political organizers say, signal that Black women are fully engaged in California’s political process, and they are primed to succeed against stiff competition ahead.

“The June 7 primary election was another demonstration of the consistency of Black Women in the political process,” said Kellie Todd, founding convener of the Black Women’s Collective (BWC), an organization of Black women leaders and advocates working in politics, business, entertainment, health care and other professions across the state.

“And this time we didn’t just show up to cast our votes, we were on the ballot at every level, in diverse communities throughout that state,” Griffin pointed out.

Black Californians represented 26.9% of all candidates on the June 7 primary ballots running for U.S. House seats, a significant showing in a state where there are 2.6 million African Americans out of a total state population of 39.5 million.

In the Bay Area, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) has secured a comfortable lead in her reelection bid. She is ahead with 73,038 votes (86.3%) to Republican challenger Stephen Slauson’s 5,272 (6.2%). Lee and Slauson are likely to move on to the general election.

In another state race involving a Black woman, Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton declared victory in the race for the county’s chief law enforcement officer.

Becton is currently winning her reelection campaign with a substantial lead of 56.2% (93, 909 votes) to her challenger Mary Knox’s 43.7% (73,100 votes). Knox is a prosecutor who works in her office.

Becton took office as District Attorney in 2017, the first woman and first African American to hold the position in the County’s 167-year history. Becton is currently the only African American district attorney in California.

Becton thanked Knox for her years of service and emphasized the need to keep fighting for smart reforms that make all Californians safer.

“The status quo has decimated entire communities, separated families, and relegated generations of Black and Brown communities as second-class citizens,” Becton said in a June 8 statement. “That is why we will continue working to reduce racial disparities in our systems. We also must continue to hold anyone who harms our communities accountable – even if they are in elected office or wear a badge – because that is what real safety demands.”

After 168,338 mail-in ballots were counted after June 7, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37) closed the gap against her better-funded, billionaire opponent Rick Caruso in the Los Angeles mayor’s race, according to results released June 10 by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Caruso leads with 155,929 votes (40.5%) to Bass’s 149,104 (38.8%), according to the Clerk’s office. More than 500,000 votes remain uncounted, and ballots postmarked by Election Day will be accepted through June 14.

In statewide races, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has 2,631,686 votes (59.2%) so far. She will face Republican Rob Bernosky in the general election in November. As of June 12, Bernosky is currently in a distant second place behind Weber with 848,373 votes (19.1%).

Malia Cohen, a current member of the State Board of Equalization, has won 21.3% of votes (973,549) in the race for State Controller, enough to land her in second place and secure a place on the ballot in November.

Cohen will face Lanhee Chen, the only Republican in a six-person race to replace California Controller Betty Yee. Chen leads the race in the primary election with 38.8% of counted votes (1,534,620).

For the 37th Congressional District seat, currently held by Bass, former Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry came in second place with 10,520 votes (18.6%). State Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) led the field of seven candidates with 24,354 (43.0%), according to election results released by the Secretary of State’s office on June 11.

Republican Ronda Kennedy, a civil rights attorney running to represent the 30th Congressional District (Burbank), is currently in third place (9,290) behind Democrat G “Maebe A. Girl” Pudlo (10,153). Either Kennedy or Pudlo will face leader Adam Schiff (D-San Diego) in November, Schiff has a commanding lead with 60,658 votes, according to the SOS office.

In the race to represent the 43rd Congressional District, longtime incumbent Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) leads Republican Omar Navarro by a wide margin of 33,801 votes to 5,949.

Black Republican Tamika Hamilton could face incumbent Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) for the District 6 congressional seat in Sacramento and Yolo counties.

Two months after winning the special election for the 11th District Assembly seat, Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City) came out ahead in the primary with 64.9% (48,657 votes). She leads Independent challenger Jenny Lailani Callison, who has 35.1% of votes counted so far (26,349).

“We proved that Black women candidates can be competitive and can also win even without large financial backing from special interests,” Todd said. “This is just the beginning as we continue to build our political power and ensure we have a strong cohort of elected officials ready to serve.”

In State Assembly races, Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego) is positioned to retain her seat representing the 79th District with 63.9% (30,005 votes). In the 18th Assembly District in Oakland, Assemblymember Mia Bonta, the only candidate on the ballot, won 100 % of the vote (36,226).

In the State Senate race for the 28th District, two Black women are leading in the primary to succeed Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles).  With 40.9% of the vote (33,687 votes), Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D) is ahead of Cheryl C. Turner (D), who is in second place with 31.0% (25,508 Votes).

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Anchoring Organizations for Reparations Task Force Hold Public ‘Listening Sessions’

“This is one of two, free official-sponsored listening sessions that the task force has asked us to do,” said Chris Lodgson, an Elk Grove resident and CJEC member. “This will definitely help us get an accurate account (of the harms) done to Black people in this state.” CJEC is a state-wide coalition of organizations, associations, and community members united for reparations for the descendants of enslaved Black American men and women.

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Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis, left, chair of the Department of Geography at the University of California Berkeley and Donald Tamaki, Esq., an attorney best known for his role in the reopening of the Supreme Court case Korematsu v. the United States, are both members of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans (Photo by Antonio Ray Harvey).
Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis, left, chair of the Department of Geography at the University of California Berkeley and Donald Tamaki, Esq., an attorney best known for his role in the reopening of the Supreme Court case Korematsu v. the United States, are both members of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans (Photo by Antonio Ray Harvey).

By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

The Coalition for a Just and Equitable California (CJEC), a reparations advocacy group, is inviting residents of Northern California to attend a “Listening Session” to discuss reparations.

The meeting will be held in Oakland on Saturday, May 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

With the support of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans and the state’s Department of Justice (DOJ), the event, open to the public, will be held at the California Ballroom, located at 1736 Franklin St.

“This is one of two, free official-sponsored listening sessions that the task force has asked us to do,” said Chris Lodgson, an Elk Grove resident and CJEC member. “This will definitely help us get an accurate account (of the harms) done to Black people in this state.”

CJEC is a state-wide coalition of organizations, associations, and community members united for reparations for the descendants of enslaved Black American men and women.

The Oakland meeting is one of a series of listening sessions that will be hosted by Reparations Task Force anchor organizations across the state. Seven “anchor organizations” have been selected to partner and host the gatherings in conjunction with the task force.

The listening sessions are designed to ensure certain communities in the state provide their thoughts and concerns about the work the task force is doing.

Each organization will help the task force evaluate California’s role in slavery and Jim Crow discrimination — and follow that work up with developing resolutions to compensate African Americans for past and ongoing race-based injustices.

Task force members expected to attend the Oakland session are Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis, chair of the Department of Geography at the University of California Berkeley and vice-chair Dr. Amos Brown, a civil rights leader and pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco whose journey to leadership started under the tutelage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s.

Lewis has just published the book, “Violent Utopia: Dispossession and Black Restoration in Tulsa.” Lewis, a Jamaican-born scholar, retells details of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre and paints a picture of its aftermath. His book traces the history of Black Oklahomans from the post-Reconstruction migration of formerly enslaved people to that state’s Indian Territory to contemporary efforts to rebuild Black prosperity.

The monograph focuses on how the massacre in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood, colloquially known as “Black Wall Street,” diminished the spirit of freedom and derailed progress African Americans had begun to make.

Scott told Los Angeles-based Politics in Black, a podcast hosted by reparations advocates Chad Brown and Friday Jones, that his purpose is to listen to the residents of Oakland and supply them with background information about the Task Force.

The Task Force will submit its first report to the California Legislature in June. The 13-chapter document will detail the committee’s findings thus far and include recommendations related to them.

“It’s important to know that these are preliminary recommendations. The actual work of coming up with reparations recommendations is what we’re going to be doing for all the issues (for the final report in 2023),” Scott told Brown and Jones. “I am really looking forward to having the conversations that we will have over the next several months around compensation. Reparations are compensation, and from day one, my position has been cash-based reparations.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 3121 into law in 2020. California Secretary of State Shirley Weber authored the legislation establishing the task force when she was a member of the State Legislature. The committee is charged with studying slavery and its lingering effects on African Americans with a “special consideration” for descendants of persons enslaved in the United States, the bill language instructs.

AB 3121 also requires members to recommend what compensation should be, who should receive it, and how it should be paid. A panel of economists contracted by the task force will provide their perspective on the financial aspects of compensation and its impacts.

Lodgson also urges members of the community to “share their experiences” with anchor organizations such as the Black Equity Collective, Afrikan Black Coalition, Black Power Network, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE), and Othering and Belonging Institute.

Marcus Champion, a board member for the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants Los Angeles (NAASDLA) and CJEC will also speak at the listening session in Oakland.

Kellie Farrish, a professional Bay Area genealogist and member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, will join Champion at the session. She has 20 years of experience working with African American families descended from slavery, piecing together their broken family histories.

“These listening sessions are important and probably the center, the core part, of the task force’s community engagement process,” Lodgson said. “This is one of the more important ways that the community can learn about reparations in California. This is the way to get the word out to the people from seven organizations.”

The Listening Session at the California Ballroom is free. For more information, visit TWITTER: @cjecofficial or inquire at CJECOfficial@gmail.com

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Calculating the Costs: Reparations Task Force OKs Expert Team to Determine Compensation

“The national strategy of attempting to eliminate the racial wealth gap is something that is not replicated at the state level given the resources that the state of California currently possesses,” said William A. “Sandy” Darity Jr., the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. “The second issue is the condition of racial wealth and equality in the state of California is not exclusively a consequence of a chain of events that took place solely in the state.”

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By statute, the task force will issue a report to the Legislature by June 1, 2022, which will be available to the public.
By statute, the task force will issue a report to the Legislature by June 1, 2022, which will be available to the public.

By Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌, California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

A day after the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans decided who would be eligible for compensation, the nine-member panel approved a framework for calculating how much should be paid — and for which offenses — to individuals who are Black descendants of enslaved people in the United States.

The task force voted 8-0 to consider a blueprint of 13 “harms,” titled “Model 2: State Specific Harms/Atrocities Framework,” presented by an expert team it appointed.

“The Task Force will give us some directions and what to pursue to use this framework to figure out a procedure to have calculations,” said Dr. Kaycea Campbell, a member of the expert team. “(It) will allow us to identify specific atrocities or harms for which California should compensate.”

The expert panel reported that a “conservative estimate” of 2 million African Americans in California have ancestors who were enslaved in the United States. According to the U.S. 2020 Census, there are about 2.6 million Black Californians in a state that has a total population of nearly 40 million residents.

The expert team identified 13 “categories” that would be the “methodology” and “procedure to calculate damages” to determine what constitutes harms and atrocities, Campbell said.

Those harms include unjust property seizure by eminent domain; intellectual property deprivation; homelessness; unwarranted police violence; segregated education; denial of representation on estate commissions; housing discrimination; labor discrimination; environmental harm; mass incarceration and sentencing; public health harms; transgenerational effects and among others.

The inflictions are prioritized to establish the case for compensation, with specificity to California, based on evidence gathered during witness testimonies over a course of nine months.

“The list is in no way final, can be expanded, and can be shrunk,” Campbell told the task force on March 30. “But we wanted to give an idea of these particular atrocities, as they are identified, and have the task force direct us as to what we should be looking at.”

Campbell, who is based in Long Beach, is an experienced career economist specializing in economic theory, analysis, and policy. The chief executive officer for Ventana Capital Advisors and associate professor of Economics, Los Angeles Pierce College, Campbell has a Ph.D. degree in Economics-Management from Claremont Graduate University.

Campbell says the five-member unit is tasked with providing an economic perspective of the work the task force is doing, helping to quantify past economic injustices African Americans faced in the state and elsewhere, and determining what or how much compensation should be for Black people living in California.

The expert team includes Williams Spriggs (former chair of the Department of Economics at Howard University. He currently serves as chief economist for the AFL-CIO), and Thomas Craemer is the Public Policy Professor at the University of Connecticut.

Spriggs and Craemer testified in front of the task force last October.

Rounding out the panel of experts are William A. “Sandy” Darity Jr., the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, and Kirsten Mullen, a writer, and lecturer whose work focuses on race, art, history, and politics.

Darity is a Samuel DuBois Cook professor of public policy, African and African American studies, and economics at Duke University. His research focuses on racial, class and ethnic inequality and stratification economics; education and the racial achievement gap; North-South theories of trade and development; and the economics of reparations.

Darity and Mullen co-authored the book, “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century.” They testified before the task force during the first meeting in June 2021.

The task force chose the Model 2 framework over Model 1, called the “National Reparations Framework.” The first option captures all the “opportunities and losses” linked to enslavement, Jim Crow laws, elements of lost wages, and others.

The expert team expressed their concerns about the national model because many of the atrocities, discrimination, and wage gap only relate to southern territories that did not happen in California.

“The national strategy of attempting to eliminate the racial wealth gap is something that is not replicated at the state level given the resources that the state of California currently possesses,” Darity said. “The second issue is the condition of racial wealth and equality in the state of California is not exclusively a consequence of a chain of events that took place solely in the state.”

On March 29, the task force voted 5-4 in favor of lineage over race as the determining factor for compensation. The members of the expert team suggested that a “reparations tribunal” would be one approach where individuals and families could establish residency and file claims of harm based on lineage.

Task Force Chair Kamilah Moore said the community eligibility portion will be based on lineage “determined by an individual being African American, the descendant of a (person enslaved as chattel) or descendant of a free-Black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century.”

By statute, the task force will issue a report to the Legislature by June 1, 2022, which will be available to the public.

Model 2 of the Framework for Reparations and Calculations could “potentially” arrive with modifications when the expert team reports back to the task force during the next meeting, Moore said.

After the expert team’s presentation, testimonials were provided on the “War on Drugs” and the crack-cocaine epidemic during the March meeting.

Those harms could be added to one of the categories.

“I am just putting that on our radar as a potential and distinct harm,” Moore said of the injuries not currently listed in Model 2.

The Task Force will hold its next meeting at San Francisco’s Third Baptist Church on Wednesday, April 13 at 9:00 a.m. and Thursday, April 14 at 9:00 a.m.

Third Baptist Church is at 1399 McAllister St. in San Francisco.

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