LOS ANGELES - The city’s seven-member Reparations Advisory Commission, which is part of the City of Los Angeles Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (LA Civil Rights Department), hosted its second in-person event on Saturday, December 2, at 10:00 AM at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU).
“Today was a rich revelation of history in Los Angeles for the African American community. It is history that we need to know and that we need to support,” said Sylvia Drew Ivie, who is Special Assistant to Charles University CEO & President, Dr. David Carlisle, and daughter of Charles R. Drew. “We are grateful that the meeting was held on our campus today. This is a part of our struggle and we want to be part of the solution. We want to be a part of this effort.”
“The Reparations Advisory Commission works tirelessly to amplify the voices of African Americans in Los Angeles, and I am proud of their ongoing efforts to rectify the deep-rooted history of racism our community has endured,” said Councilwoman Heather Hutt. “These events provide a distinctive opportunity for African Americans to be heard, ensuring that our perspectives, and experiences not only be acknowledged but actively addressed."
Reparations Advisory Commission Chair Michael Lawson, who is also the CEO & President of the LA Urban League, explains, "Reparations is one form of making amends for an injustice such as slavery and other immoral acts that were done and supported by a government. The unjust and immoral acts that were inflicted on African Americans in the United States, beginning with slavery clearly justify the legitimacy of reparations to the sons and daughters of these horrendous, unjust, and immoral actions that were inflicted upon African Americans. Reparations must be designed to restore the African American community to the economic position we would have had if not for slavery and discrimination.”
The three-hour meeting included a brief review of the current reparations work and timeline from the LA City Reparations Commissioners. The meeting continued with public feedback and questions from the community and followed with attendees taking the “Black Experience Study” survey before participating in a Q&A session.
“Los Angeles will not ignore its history, and we will not shy away from difficult conversations to bring truth, justice, and equity to our city,” said LA Civil Rights Department Executive Director Capri Maddox. “We are so grateful to the hundreds of Angelenos who joined us today to participate in LA’s first reparations program for African Americans and to the city leaders who have the courage to carry this work forward. The Reparations Advisory Commission is serious about building a meaningful reparations program with input from the community and backed by sound research.”
The Reparation Advisory Commission is in the first phase of its four-phased study. The first phase consists of hearing from Black Angelenos’ personal experiences and stories through the “Black Experience Study” survey and personal interviews from Black residents and organizations. Through the survey that is ongoing, academic researcher California State University Northridge (CSUN) College of Social and Behavioral Sciences will discover key themes about the harms affected to Black residents in the City of Los Angeles. The second phase includes recommendations made to the City on how it should address these harms, program qualifications, and costs of a reparations program.
The Reparations Advisory Commission is a blue-ribbon task force composed of leading voices in activism, academia, law, and racial justice, focusing on the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles since its 1925 charter. Created by the city in 2021, the Commission is tasked to engage public input and academic and participatory research to develop reparations recommendations Black Angelenos.
The Commission previously held virtual events called “Homecoming” and an in-person event with 350 attendees at the California African-American Museum (CAAM) this April, where Black Angelenos shared stories of systemic racism through public comments. To date, the Commission has collected approximately 450 surveys and is conducting live webinars on certain dates to help more residents complete surveys. Take the survey at BlackExperienceLA.com.
Click here to learn more about the city’s Reparations Advisory Commission.