San Francisco Issues Apology to Black Residents for Historical Racist Policies

San Francisco supervisors issued a formal apology on Tuesday to African Americans and their descendants, acknowledging the city’s historical role in perpetuating racism and discrimination. The apology was described as a first step towards reparations for Black residents and not the final resolution.

The resolution was unanimously passed by all 11 board members, who signed on as sponsors of the resolution.

Supervisor Shamann Walton, the chief proponent of the resolution and the only Black member of the board, stated, “This historic resolution apologizes on behalf of San Francisco to the African American community and their descendants for decades of systemic and structural discrimination, targeted acts of violence, atrocities, as well as committing to rectification and redress of past policies and misdeeds.”

San Francisco’s apology follows suit with Boston and nine states that have formally apologized for slavery.

Supervisor Walton emphasized the importance of the apology as a crucial step in the reparations process, despite acknowledging that more work needs to be done.

One of the proposals put forward by the African American Reparations Advisory Committee includes providing a $5 million lump-sum cash payment and a guaranteed annual income of nearly $100,000 to eligible Black adults in an effort to address San Francisco’s racial wealth disparity.

While the apology was a significant milestone, some supervisors criticized certain public safety measures on the upcoming city ballot, claiming they could adversely impact African American residents.

The resolution highlighted various instances of discrimination and injustices faced by the Black community in San Francisco, including property redlining, the destruction of the Fillmore neighborhood, and policies that hindered Black residents from building generational wealth.

The resolution also brought attention to the disproportionate representation of Black individuals among the city’s homeless population, despite being a minority in the general population.

Efforts at the state level, such as the creation of a task force on reparations in California, have also been made to address historical injustices, but challenges remain in implementing comprehensive reparations policies.

Cheryl Thornton, a Black city employee in San Francisco, emphasized the importance of reparations in addressing current issues faced by the Black community, such as disparities in healthcare and access to essential services.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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