San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday unanimously appointed 15 people to the city's African American Reparations Advisory Committee -- touted as the first body of its kind to create a comprehensive reparations plan for African Americans.
The newly created committee is the result of efforts by Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, as well as the San Francisco National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, to compensate Black people whose ancestors not only provided free labor through slavery in the U.S. from 1619 to 1865, but also suffered injustices during the Jim Crow era that followed.
The committee's new members include former San Francisco Supervisors and Rev. Amos Brown; Gwendolyn Brown; James Lance Taylor; Tinisch Hollins; Eric McDonnell; Yolanda Harris; Nikcole Cunningham; Gloria Berry; Tiffany Walker-Carter; Laticia Erving; Starr Williams; Omerede Hamilton; Daniel Landry; Anietie Ekanem; and Shakeyla O'Cain.
The members are set to serve indefinite terms, as they create a comprehensive reparations plan over the next two years, gathering input from the city's African American residents on prioritizing issues such as housing, education, violence prevention, workforce development, health care access, and food disparity, among others, according to Walton's office.
"The appointments of this reparations advisory committee is an historical event, as I am unaware of any other legislated body in place to prioritize injustices and create a true reparations plan in a package for Black people," Walton said in a statement.
Walton said he hopes the committee will "ensure that we not only improve outcomes for Black people in San Francisco, but also that we repair the damage of the past and make compensation tangible in order to overturn negative outcomes and create generational wealth."
The committee was formed through the city's Human Rights Commission.
"San Francisco has the opportunity to lead the way in addressing the harm that far too many African Americans families have experienced," HRC Director Sheryl Davis said. "When my family looks over our family tree, we see the descendants of slaves. We don't have to look very far to see our ancestors who were slaves, that trauma and history was passed down, but not the wealth or income they generated on the plantations. I look forward to working with this committee to explore how to restore, repair and transform the damage from the past."