Edward Henderson | California Black Media

California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) vice chair Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) introduced new legislation related to reparations to the Senate Committee on Housing on April 2 in Sacramento.

Senate Bill (SB) 1007, “establishes the Homeowner’s Assistance for Descendants of Enslaved Persons Program to make financial aid or assistance available to descendants for the purposes of purchasing, owning, or maintaining a home,” the legislation states.

The Senate Housing Committee advanced the bill with an 8-1 vote. It will be re-referred to the Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Sen. Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta) was the only member who voted against the bill.

“SB 1007 is about starting a long process of paying back a debt that is not only owed, but that was also promised, and is 160 years overdue, to African Americans,” Bradford told the committee chaired by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). “It is the first step in closing the wealth and equity gap created by centuries of slavery and racial discrimination policies.”

The bill aligns with one of the 115 recommendations listed in a two-year study conducted by the California reparations task force, of which Bradford was one of nine members.

Bradford said the report reveals that, in the state of California, a typical Black-owned home is 22% less valuable than a White-owned home.

Various advocacy groups from around the state attended the hearing held at the State Capitol Annex Swing Space. The California Housing Partnership, Bay Area Regional Health and Inequities Initiative, Coalition for A Just and Equitable California, Disability Rights of California, the American Civil Liberties Union of California, and California Community Builders all voiced their support of the bill.

Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas reparations Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 113 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 31-1 vote on Feb. 29 and was adopted with a 10-0 vote on April 2. The bill is a companion of Assemblymember Akilah Weber’s Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 135.

SCR 113 would acknowledge the harms and atrocities committed by the State of California that “promoted, facilitated, enforced, and permitted the institution of chattel slavery and the legacy of ongoing badges and incidents of slavery that form the systemic structures of discrimination” the bill’s language states.

“For the first time, California is acknowledging its role in the perpetuation of the harms and ongoing effects of slavery of Black people across the state and in the nation. This resolution simply acknowledges that,” Smallwood-Cuevas said.