$100 billion dollar reparation plan proposed in San Francisco


Kashaf Iftikhar

San Francisco’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee discusses a reparation plan that could cost the city at least 100 billion dollars.

As the Civil War came to an end in 1865, Black individuals sought to build a foundation for a hopeful future. In January 1865, abolitionists Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens vouched for a reparation plan (a reparation is a way to make up for one’s wrong doing). In the end, General William T. Sherman agreed to provide 400,000 acres of southern United States land for former slaves. This plan was not executed. As a result, plans for slavery reparation are still being discussed and proposed in 2023.

In March 2023, the African American Reparations Advisory Committee (AARAC) in San Francisco suggested a slavery reparation plan to the city, which is spreading controversy throughout the nation. Some students at DP think the plan will not be effective.

“As a person from the Black community, I just don’t think money is the way through which people are trying to get to us; it gives more of a sense of being paid off, like ‘now you’re silenced,’” senior Elizabeth Yancy said.

The plan is intended to benefit Black adults in San Francisco, but whether there will be a residency requirement is still under debate. Some propositions the bill makes are: removing tax debt, giving a one-time payment of $5 million dollars, the ability to buy a house for $1, and a salary floor of $97,000 for 250 years.

“San Francisco’s action promotes other ideas to help restore what was promised,” senior Leslye Sierra said.

With recent floods and rising sea levels, the cost of repairing San Francisco will only increase which can directly impact funding for the reparation plan. Due to the heavy rain these past few months, San Francisco is “to spend more than $600 million on flood prevention,” as stated in an article by San Francisco Chronicle.

“Instead of giving everyone money, maybe they should build a little town or village for slave descendants, making the housing cheaper, instead of giving $5 million to everyone since that money might not even do any good,” senior Brian Jimenez said.

It is worth noting that San Francisco has a considerably lower demographic of Black individuals compared to the South, where slavery was very much present. Also, San Francisco is an expensive city to live in, so this can be seen as unfair to Black residents in other parts of the US.

“People in the south aren’t able to come and are living a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. This is unfair to them since people in California tend to be more privileged. I think this might cause protests and riots,” Brian said.

While it is unclear how the reparation plan will go through, the proposal has caught national attention. Students at DP hope that this leap by San Francisco will encourage other states and ultimately countries to fulfill their duty as leaders to ensure equity amongst all people.

“Just because you give five dollars to one person doesn’t mean racism will go away; it’s kind of like a cracked dam. A better approach would be to have someone speak about reparation plans and ask people about ways a community can change,” Elizabeth said.

Updated: 4/12/23

Never miss out on new articles!