Lawmakers in California are continuing the discussion on reparations but still can’t seem to figure out who should qualify for the compensation. Some lawmakers say reparations should only be given to descendants of enslaved people. Others, however, say all Black people in the U.S. should be compensated for the ramifications of slavery, regardless of lineage or despite how much they suffered from systemic racism in housing, education and employment. 

While reparations have been discussed around the country, California is the only state that has made progress in the legislation, CBS News reports. In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to create the two-year reparations task force, which aims to study the consequences of slavery and educate the public about its research.

Advocates said reparations can include free college and government assistance for buying homes and launching businesses, as well as grants to churches and community organizations. Still, there is no clear guideline on who exactly will receive the benefits.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who authored the legislation creating the task force, said her family is among those who have been severely impacted by slavery. Weber, a daughter of sharecroppers forced to flee Arkansas, said priority should be given to descendants of those who experienced forced labor, broken family ties and police terrorism. The California politician made her case in January, saying U.S. descendants would be left nearly empty if reparation is given to Black immigrants or descendants of slaves from other countries.

Task force member Lisa Holder, who argued for all Black people to benefit from reparations, spoke about the tragedy of losing her child at delivery. While sharing her story to illustrate how racism still affects Black people despite where they come from, Holder said the medical staff didn’t take her seriously when she knew something was wrong with her baby.

“No one asked me if my ancestors were enslaved in the United States or if they were enslaved in Jamaica or if they were enslaved in Barbados,” Holder said, CBS News reports. “We have to embrace this concept that Black lives matter, not just a sliver of those Black lives, because Black lives are in danger, especially today.”

Opponents of reparations say California shouldn’t be obligated to offer any compensation because the state didn’t practice slavery or enforce Jim Crow laws.

Still, researchers point to a number of ways in which racism has affected Black people in California. According to testimonies provided to the task force, the state has a history of disproportionately taking wages and property from Black people. The records also reveal that Black people have faced significant hurdles in getting bank loans and purchasing property.

Additionally, Black residents are still overrepresented in jails, prison and homeless populations, according to the testimony.

The task force is expected to release a reparations proposal by June 2023. The state legislature will then consider turning the proposal into law.