Reparations, Social Justice ActivityBy Richard Myers
Notes thanks to Sharon Jarrett:
The meeting did not have a formal topic for discussion and participants were invited to share concerns or interests freely.
Before beginning, Dick Myers reviewed the next two meetings. On June 2nd Helene Rhinegold will return for another Conversation with Art program focused on the art of Africa. On June 16th, Dick Price and his wife Sharon Kyle will join the group to discuss their experience as an interracial couple in the United States.
The participants then reviewed the initial report of the California Committee on Reparations. The Committee was formed as part of AB 3121 and will be releasing their full report on June 30, 2023.
The preliminary outline provided three areas of content: overarching recommendation, five underlying principles for specific recommendations and 10 specific recommendations.
Develop a state level apology to those harmed when the State perpetuated slavery although it was admitted to the Union as a free state and harm created by discriminatory laws and regulations.
Five Underlying Principles
Harms occurred in:
- Housing practices and regulations
- Mass incarceration and disportionate policing
- Confiscation of property
- Devaluation of businesses
- Create an agency to implement laws stemming from the report
- Abolish the death penalty
- Pay fair market value for prison and jail labor
- Prevent private prisons from being operated in the State
- Make public colleges and universities free for eligible affected individuals
- Make election day a paid state holiday
- Fund wellness centers in African American Communities
- Restore voting rights to people convicted of crimes
- Adopt Universal Health Insurance in the State
- Adopt several mechanisms for calculating harm caused to those affected in order to offer monetary reparations
Participants agreed with the first recommendation...offer a state level apology. The remaining recommendations needed more information and participants were interested in viewing the final report in June.
The discussion then moved to national actions. Some citizens as individuals living in Portland have decided to sell their property to those who were harmed by early real estate practices for below market value.
Next a new participant shared her family background as sharecroppers in Pineland, Texas. Pointing out the failure of the historic promise of equality and balanced community participation. She pointed out that American history includes Black History. Pointing out that historical narratives do not always match historical facts and corrections were needed.
The participants then discussed the Pasadena Police Oversight Committee. One participant shared a comment made by a parent who has told her African American son to call her if the police pull him over.
In this way ensuring there is a person listening to the exchange.
Several participants then shared their experiences attending the Altadena Town Council meeting. One participant raised a question about a shooting that was not being discussed. The Dept. Of Justice is investigating the case. In the interim the officers involved have been placed on desk duty. A concern was raised about this practice.
Finally, one of the participants in this meeting is a representative of My Tribe Rise and her organization is sponsoring a recogniiton of Juneteenth to be held on June 17th at the Metropolitan Baptist Church at 10:30AM. For more information about this event go to their website at MyTriberise.org
In the future, we hope to have a presentation about this organization, telling us what their program is, how they operate, and how we can work together for social improvement.
In June and July we have several great presentations scheduled. On June 2nd at 10AM PST , we will feature Helane Rhinegold with another presentation, this time on African Art and Artists. Helane has presented to us previously about African American Artists and a recording of her presentation is available for your viewing on our youtube channel at Early African American Artists. Helane's presentations are interactive and as a result are dynamic, engaging and informative. You are guranteed to enjoy the presentation and to learn a lot from being part of it.
Following that, our next scheduled presentation will be on June 16th at 12NOON PST. This presentation will feature Dick Price and Sharon Kyle talking about their experience as an interracial couple. They will talk about how that experience has enhanced their knowledge of the impact that racism in our society has on people's personal lives. Dick and Sharon are actively engaged in efforts to promote social justice and they publish an award wining newsletter, LA Progressive. You can visit the profile of Dick and Sharon to learn more about who they are and how they have come to where they now are in their lives. Dick and Sharon have given similar presentations in the past and they are insightful and informative and you will view the world a little differently after you hear them.
On July 21st, at 12NOON PST Brian Biery, who many of you have seen in previous presentations will join us again for another of his very informative sessions, "Equity and Ecology in the Arroyo Seco". The Arroyo Seco is a significant geographic feature of Pasadena and there is an involved history of development issues about the area, and current questions about what should be done today. More information about this presentation will be forthcoming as the day approaches.
We have an exciting few mnths ahead of us and look forward to seeing all of you there. These events are open to the public and registration for these events may be done on our website through our event list.