An activist warned California’s reparations task force of “a serious backlash” if they do not honor his demands for a six-figure payout for eligible black residents.
Speaking at a meeting of Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans at Oakland City Hall on Wednesday, Deon Jenkins argued that every black Californian should be received a payment of around $800,000 to reflect average home prices in the state, KRCR reported.
“Either they’re going to comply or it’s going to be a serious backlash,” Jenkins said in an interview following the hearing.
A self-proclaimed “hip-hop organizer,” Jenkins ran for president in 2016 and 2020, and launched an unsuccessful bid for Senate during the 2022 midterms.
At Wednesday’s meeting, he and other activists railed against an initial proposal for payouts of around $223,000.
“Defense, money, land, grants. Four elements of every society, every nation – a defensive structure, economy, land and having access to that economy,” Jenkins told the task force.
“If that is not being addressed, reparations will not hold. Reparations – repair is the root word — we cannot have repair if those elements are not addressed.”
Social media star and triathlete Max Fennell also spoke on Wednesday, arguing that eligible black Californians should receive a $350,000 payout in addition to 15-20 acres of land, and $250,000 grants for black-owned small businesses.
“It’s a debt that’s owed, we worked for free,” he told the task force.
“We’re not asking — we’re telling you.”
Since 2021, the California reparations task force has been the first group of its kind in the country to examine the case for reparations to Californian descendants of enslaved people.
Fennell later posted a video of the hearings on Instagram, which he captioned, “Witnessing history with the tribe.”
The debate continued on Thursday, when Rev. Tony Pierce of the Black Wall Street Project shouted from the podium that “$230,000 is not enough!”
“I consider myself a foundational black American,” another speaker, Carol Williams, said according to the Daily Mail.
Williams explained that she experienced homelessness since moving to California from Memphis in 1985. She argued that all reparations should be tax free.
“The reparation should be tax free, so that when we get the money the IRS won’t come after us. And I’m pleading and I’m asking that when we make the decision of lineage, we save those who have been in California since 2000,” she said.
“I can’t even walk down the street without being judged,” a third speaker reportedly lamented. “There’s nothing I can do in this world without being judged. Why should I be judged … only by the color of my skin?”
In a Dec. 13 interview, Chairperson Kamilah Moore said that the $223,000 estimate was based on economic research presented to the committee, and represents the state’s “maximum culpability” for housing discrimination.
The figure only applies to those who were impacted by housing discrimination between 1933 and 1977. People of all races can qualify, she explained.
“In reality, that number would be minimized when you take into account the fact that the task force decided in March that the community of eligibility would be lineage based rather than race based,” she stated, per the Daily Mail.
“When you really look at who was really impacted by housing discrimination during that particular time period it most likely won’t be all black folks.”
Moore opened Wednesday’s hearing by highlighting the weight of the committee’s task.
“It is important to get this right because we are setting the precedent for other states and localities, and also for the federal government as well,” she said.
The task force did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for a comment on Jenkins’ demands.
The committee was signed into law by California Secretary of State Shirley Weber in Sept. 2020, shortly after the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minnesota sparked a summer of nationwide protests against racial injustice.
In addition to Moore, the committee is helmed by Senator Steven Bradford, civil rights leader Dr. Amos C. Brown, and attorney Lisa Holder, among others.
The task force has until July 2023 to present its findings.