A Valentine’s Day town hall meeting at San Francisco's Third Baptist Church brought famed civil rights attorney John Burris and other supporters of the controversial $5 million per eligible person reparations plan, with Rev. Amos Brown calling reparations opponents the “personification of evil.”
The Fillmore District’s historic Third Baptist Church was the site of last year’s meetings of the California Reparations Task Force, a state-level body that convened after Governor Gavin Newsom signed a 2020 bill to study and develop a reparations plan for Black Californians impacted by the harmful legacy of slavery. There was also a separate, local San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee which last month released a draft that proposed, among other forms of possible reparations, that eligible Black SF residents could receive a $5 million lump-sum payment.
That’s really just one of their proposals, and the definition of “eligible” is specific enough that it excludes a fair amount of Black residents. But the proposal has of course gotten right-wing media’s racist dander up, and has also drawn some scrutiny from supervisors who worry about the budgetary impact.
It’s against that backdrop that activists held a town hall in favor of reparations at Third Baptist Church Tuesday, according to the Chronicle. The Valentine's Day rally drew famed civil rights attorney John Burris, and of course the church’s pastor and local NAACP president Rev. Amos Brown, to speak out in favor of the $5 million reparations plan.
“Five million is not that much,” Brown said Tuesday, per the Chronicle, citing “246 years of slavery. I can’t overstate the importance of reparations. It isn’t enough to apologize. Somewhere there has to be reparations.”
Rev. Brown argued that the reparations don’t necessarily have to be in the form of cash; reparations could also be provided in the form of health care, education, employment, and/or affordable housing.
“On this Valentine’s Day, a day that symbolizes love, compassion, care and concern, I submit that this city has not loved its African Americans enough,” Brown told reporters at the rally, according to the Chron. “Any person who does not think African Americans are worthy of reparations is the personification of evil.”
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to have a hearing on the SF reparations report on Tuesday, March 14, NBC Bay Area reports, but there may not be an actual vote at that hearing. A final proposal is not expected until June.
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