Task Force To Study And Develop Reparation Proposals For African Americans Votes On Reparations For Black Californians 

This Saturday, the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans held its 15th public meeting in Oakland, California. The panel was created to consider reparations for Black residents in California, and throughout the nation. 

According to Kamilah Moore, who’s on the chair of the panel, the group voted over the weekend to approve recommendations for the payments of reparations to Black Californians for injustices and discrimination that stems back to slavery. 

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The specific recommendations will be discussed and presented at the task force’s next meeting before it goes on to be presented to the Legislature by July 1st. The recommendations could cost the state billions of dollars in its outlined restitutions. 

The task force specifically outlined the reparations they are attempting to gain, as reported by CNN, which includes: 

  • “Estimated value of payment for health care disparities: $13,619 for each year of residency, based on 71-year life expectancy.
  • Estimated payment for housing discrimination: $148,099 or $3,366 for each year between 1933 and 1977 spent as a resident of the state.
  • Estimated payment for mass incarceration and over policing: $115,260 or $2,352 for each year of residency in California during the 49-year period between 1971 and 2020.”

The task force has also previously called for a state office to process the reparation claims as a means of “identifying and mitigating the ways that current and previous policies have damaged and destabilized Black families.”

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Additionally, the task force has overall goals of restoring historical sites, supporting educational funding/resource building, as well as offering free legal aid and other services to those who need it but may not be able to afford it. 

Other goals include updating the language used in the state’s Constitution, removing any racial bias and discriminatory practices in standardized testing, compensating individuals who were deprived of profits through their work, investing in free healthcare programs, and delivering apologies for acts of political disenfranchisement. 

According to the US Census Bureau, California has a Black population of 2.5 million people. It’s currently unclear how the Legislature would put some, or all, of these recommendations in place, however, the future meetings of the task force will likely outline those steps. 

The task force’s next meeting is set to be held on June 29th in Sacramento so the group can finalize any changes to the recommendations before presenting it to the Legislature.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Will Give $1,200 To Each Of Its Citizens

Hong Kong has been in the news quite a bit within the past six months. Between ongoing protests regarding discontent with the current political climate and the more recent coronavirus outbreak, the citizens of Hong Kong deserve to feel safe again. 

The protests and health emergency in Hong Kong has caused its economy to slump into a recession during the third quarter of 2019; the city is also expected to record its first budget deficit in 15 years due to the declining economy. Financial Secretary Paul Chan expects the situation to only get worse, however, the  government is implementing a program to give its citizens a bit of a financial cushion during these trying times. 

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Paul Chan addressing the Legislative Council, Feb. 26th 2020

The metropolitan and financial hub made an announcement on Wednesday (2/26) in which they stated that every Hong Kong resident over the age of eighteen will receive 10,000 yen (about $1,200) as a part of a 120 billion yen stimulus package that is meant to be distributed amongst the cities citizens. The program is estimated to benefit around seven million people. 

“Hong Kong’s economy is facing enormous challenges this year. The outlook is far from promising in the near term. Hong Kong’s economy has been dragged by a host of headwinds that percolated last year, including fallout from months of mass protests, the ongoing US-China trade war and the slowing global economy. Now, it is also confronting the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has dealt a severe blow to economic activities and sentiment in Hong Kong,” Chan said to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.

Chan went on to explain that the money will be coming from a fund that was specifically established “in view of the deteriorating economic and employment conditions as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.” In addition to the financial compensation of 10,000 yen, Chan also stated that income tax would be greatly slashed for certain residents depending on their income bracket, however, they predict that it will benefit up to 2 million Hong Kong taxpayers, based on census data. 

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Additionally, housing authorities are giving low-income individuals who are living in public housing a month of free rent and the same perk will be given to 200,000 residents living in underprivileged households, which will also be determined by financial census data. The goal of all of this is to prevent the economy from getting any worse, and maintaining where it is now so that there’s more of a chance that it will bounce back. 

The budget deficit for 2020 is already way above what Hong Kong is used too, so it’s important that the government tries to protect its citizens, especially when they have a multitude of other issues to be concerned with, like their general health and safety. Luckily, Hong Kong has about $145 billion in fiscal reserves as a financial cushion to combat the deficit and benefit its citizens. In the long run, the city should be able to reverse the economic damage that has been inflicted. 

“[I] believe the economy will be able to bounce back in the long term. Although the impact of the epidemic on our economy in the near term could possibly be greater than that of the SARS outbreak in 2003 … Hong Kong’s economic fundamentals remain solid. The economy of Hong Kong should be able to recover once the epidemic is over,” Chan said.