Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber passed bill that led to first state financing for reparations

Bradford: This is “Just the Beginning”

SACRAMENTO — SACRAMENTO – Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) issued the following statement on the 3-party state budget agreement that includes initial funding for reparations:

“Although we wanted more, I’m deeply appreciative of the $12 million in the state budget for reparations. Even in these tough fiscal times, this funding is a clear reflection of our priorities and values as a state.  This money will start to stand up the infrastructure to pay for future reparations. We, as the California Legislative Black Caucus, made the case that the harms of slavery and racist public policies aren’t healed. They still exist today and impact Black Californians and Black Americans. We see it all around us in lower home ownership rates, educational achievement, health disparities, and a significant wealth gap.  I look forward to working with our Legislative leaders and the Governor to implement reparations. We often say that if something isn’t in the budget, then it doesn’t matter or even exist. This clearly states the reparations do matter and will be a priority in California going forward. This is just the beginning.”

The first in the nation investment follows a 2020 bill by current Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber to launch a task force to study reparations. Following the completion of the study last summer, the California Legislative Black Caucus offered a series of bills in February to implement some of its recommendations.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also appointed the first California Racial Equity Commission, led by Dr. Larissa Estes.

That infrastructure is likely to bear fruit in the day to day work of state government, where four African-Americans hold statewide elective office: Weber, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, also a candidate to replace Newsom as governor; and Controller Malia Cohen.

Additionally, CLBC Chair Assemblywoman Lori Wilson is the first Black woman to head the Assembly Transportation Committee, charged with making decisions on billions in federal infrastructure spending dollars which traditionally have been used against Black communities. On the administrative side, Transportation Secretary Toks Ohmishaikin recently held a small business fair to improve the woeful contracting record of the state with Black owned businesses.

Bradford is Vice Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications and represents Inglewood, which will host the Super Bowl in 2027 and the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies in 2028.

At the local level, the City of Berkeley took a symbolic step by inaugurating a work of public art by Mildred Howard at the site where her mother, Mabel, forced the undergrounding of a subway tunnel in order to prevent destruction of a Black business district, one of more than 2,000 impacted by government policy in the past 150 years. Councilman Ben Bartlett, pictured above, funded the work in South Berkeley.