One of the boldest proposals from the task force so far is the recommendation to create a new statewide governmental agency, the California American Freedmen Affairs Agency, inspired by the Freedmen’s Bureau, a federal government agency created after the Civil War to assist newly freed Black Americans during the period of Reconstruction. The task force initially proposed creating a similar agency for California in January, with CAFAA as an oversight body for whatever reparations policies the legislature passes. In March, the task force decided to give the freedmen affairs agency more power and passed a new proposal to put this new agency in charge of carrying out the policies. Task force Chair Kamilah Moore said CAFAA will exist “to provide perpetual special consideration to descendants of American slaves.” The new agency would also be able to intervene in the affairs of other parts of the state government, like the California Department of Justice, on issues that impact Black Californians. The CAFAA would also potentially be in charge of deciding who was eligible for reparations, which has been a source of contention for the task force.
The task force, created in 2020, has until July 1 to submit its final report to the California state legislature. The group meets again later in March and yet another time in May before submitting its final recommendations on June 30. A proposal in the state legislature would allow the task force to operate for an additional year as it advocates for its proposals.
With reparations movements gaining steam from various cities and even private organizations in multiple states, all eyes will be on California, which may set the stage for other reparations programs nationwide.