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AJR-21 Reparations for descendants of enslaved persons.(2019-2020)

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AJR21:v99#DOCUMENT

Revised  September 03, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Joint Resolution
No. 21


Introduced by Assembly Members Gonzalez, McCarty, and Weber
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry, Arambula, Bauer-Kahan, Berman, Bloom, Boerner Horvath, Bonta, Burke, Calderon, Carrillo, Cervantes, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Cooper, Daly, Eggman, Friedman, Gabriel, Cristina Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gray, Grayson, Holden, Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Kamlager-Dove, Levine, Limón, Low, Maienschein, Medina, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Ramos, Rendon, Reyes, Luz Rivas, Robert Rivas, Rodriguez, Blanca Rubio, Salas, Santiago, Smith, Mark Stone, Ting, Wicks, and Wood)

June 19, 2019


Relative to reparations for descendants of enslaved persons.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AJR 21, as introduced, Gonzalez. Reparations for descendants of enslaved persons.
This measure would formally apologize for California’s past complicity in enabling and furthering the practice of slavery and would urge the United States Congress and the President of the United States to enact House Resolution 40 to study the legacy of slavery and provide recommendations on redress for descendants of enslaved persons.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, Approximately 4,000,000 Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States and colonies that became the United States from 1619 to 1865; and
WHEREAS, The institution of slavery was constitutionally and statutorily sanctioned by the government of the United States from 1789 through 1865; and
WHEREAS, The slavery that flourished in the United States constituted an immoral and inhumane deprivation of life, liberty, citizenship rights, and cultural heritage, and denied enslaved persons the fruits of their own labor; and
WHEREAS, California, despite its admission as a “free” state, permitted the virtual enslavement and trafficking of Native Americans under the 1850 Act for the Government and Protection of Indians; and
WHEREAS, Following the abolition of slavery, the United States government, at the federal, state, and local level, continued to perpetuate, condone, and often profit from practices that continued to brutalize and disadvantage African Americans, including sharecropping, convict leasing, Jim Crow laws, redlining, unequal education, and disproportionate treatment at the hands of the criminal justice system; and
WHEREAS, As a result of the historical and continued discrimination, African Americans continue to suffer debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships, including, but not limited to, an unemployment rate more than twice the current White unemployment rate and an average of less than one-sixteenth of the wealth of White families, a disparity which has worsened, not improved, over time; and
WHEREAS, A preponderance of scholarly and legal evidentiary documentation constitutes the basis for inquiry into the ongoing effects of the institution of slavery and its legacy of persistent systemic structures of discrimination on living African Americans and society in the United States; and
WHEREAS, In 1980, Congress established a commission to investigate the legacy of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and to recommend appropriate redress; and
WHEREAS, On August 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act to provide reparations to the more than 120,000 Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in America’s internment camps during World War II; and
WHEREAS, In January of 1989, former Representative John J. Conyers Jr. of Michigan introduced the “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act,” and reintroduced this measure each subsequent congressional term; and
WHEREAS, Modern conceptualizations of reparations for descendants of enslaved persons have been heavily shaped by acts of redress by foreign governments for the atrocities and trauma they have inflicted on segments of their populations, including, but not limited to, German reparations to Holocaust survivors and their descendants and South African reparations to the victims of apartheid; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature strongly and unequivocally supports H.R. 40 of the 116th Congress, and urges the President and the Congress of the United States to enact this legislation to study the legacy of slavery and provide recommendations on redress for descendants of enslaved persons; and be it further
Resolved, That the California Legislature acknowledges and formally apologizes for its past complicity in enabling and furthering the practice of slavery in California against African Americans, Native Americans, and others; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, to the Governor, and to the author for appropriate distribution.
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REVISIONS:
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