California Reparations Advocates Call Reparations A ‘Divorce Settlement’

Tensions escalated during a recent California Reparations Task Force meeting as multiple individuals vocally criticized the United States for its historical involvement in slavery. The heated discussions reached a boiling point, with one participant going so far as to advocate for a metaphorical “divorce.”

The concluding session of the Reparations Task Force took place in Sacramento, marking the culmination of their work, which included a recent recommendation to California state lawmakers to provide reparations of up to $1.2 million to black residents in acknowledgment of historical slavery and discrimination.

As the floor opened for public remarks, individuals expressed their candid viewpoints. Among them, Reggie Romanie emphasized his belief that the suggested amount of $1.2 million would fall short of addressing the full extent of reparations required.

Romanie said, “This reparations task force, I appreciate y’all, but you all opened up a whole can of worms. I’m going to tell you this: reparations is about ‘repair.’ To me, I qualify. I’m going to tell you how you repair this. First of all, America, from the evidence that they gave us, you’re guilty.”

Drawing from the controversial 1619 Project, which has faced criticism for its claim that the United States was established primarily to preserve slavery, Romaine made a provocative statement, asserting that the country had metaphorically “married” black Americans and now owed them a settlement akin to a divorce.

Romanie went on to say, “You kidnapped us! Put a hate crime on us! That’s the first one. Now you came here with all the other atrocities. When you brought us here, you raped our men, women and kids. So, therefore, you married us!”

He continued, “Don’t treat us like no cheap piece of meat! So therefore, our last name’s ‘American!’ So now’s the time for a divorce! What do you get in divorce? You get half the money, half the land, alimony, child support, attorney fees and everything else! So that’s what we want!”

Don Tamaki, an attorney of Japanese-American descent and a task force member, highlighted the parallels he sees between the ongoing struggle for reparations among black Americans and the historical fight for reparations by Japanese-Americans.

In an interview with NBC News, Tamaki said, “If it wasn’t for the Black Civil Rights Movement, where would we be? That whole movement changed the culture a lot. And it changed us. And so it began this movement toward redress and reparations.”

According to USA Today, state Sen. Steven Bradford (D-CA), a member of the task force, expressed his belief that achieving reparations is a long-term endeavor that may not be accomplished within a single legislative cycle or even two cycles.

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