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Gov. Newsom Appoints Members to Task Force Studying Reparations for Black Americans

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -- Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday announced the appointment of five people to serve on the newly formed task force to study and develop reparation proposals for Black Americans.

The Task Force is the result of Newsom signing AB 3121 last year. Authored by then-Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), the bill established a nine-member task force to inform Californians about slavery and explore ways the state might provide reparations.

"California is leading the nation, in a bipartisan way, on the issue of reparations and racial justice, which is a discussion that is long overdue and deserves our utmost attention," Newsom said in a press release announcing the appointments. "Last year, I signed into law a number of key bills focused on leveling the playing field in our society and ensuring that everyone has a fair shot at achieving the California dream. Today's appointment of individuals with an expansive breadth of knowledge, experiences and understanding of issues impacting the African American community is the next step in our commitment as a state to build a California for all."

According to the release the five individuals selected by Newsom to serve on the task force "represent diverse backgrounds and meet the statutes required by law, which include choosing one candidate from the field of academia with expertise in civil rights and an additional two appointees selected from major civil society and reparations organizations that have historically championed the cause of reparatory justice."

Newsom's appointees to the task force include two notable representatives from the Bay Area: pioneering civil rights leader and President of the San Francisco Branch (and member of the Board of Directors) of the NAACP Dr. Amos Brown and Berkeley-based economic anthropologist and geographer Dr. Jovan S. Lewis.

The other members appointed by Newsom on Friday include Dr. Cheryl N. Grills, who was recently chosen to serve as President's Professor at Loyola Marymount University, award-winning Los Angeles trial attorney Lisa Holder and attorney Donald Tamaki of Piedmont, who is best known for his historic work serving on the pro bono legal team that reopened the landmark Supreme Court case of Korematsu v. United States, overturning Fred Korematsu's conviction for refusing incarceration during the mass roundup and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

The reparations task force will have a total of nine members, with remaining four to be made up of two individuals appointed by the California State Senate and two more members appointed by the Assembly.

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