San Francisco Issues Apology for Past Racist Actions

Last week, as Black History Month was coming to an end, the city of San Francisco Supervisor Board issued a formal apology to Black residents in which they apologized for the city’s perpetuation of racism. They furthered the statement saying they intend to continue to make reparations of some kind to the Black residents of the city but have not yet stated what those reparations will be. The vote to issue the apology was unanimous, having all 11 board members agree to issue the apology.

San Francisco is the second major city to formally issue an apology, as Boston did previously as well.

These two cities joined the list of nine states that issued apologies. The states that have thus far issued apologies include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia. Some of these apologies specifically mentioned being for slavery, while others were more general towards any racism and discrimination that the state participated in.

Over 100 proposals regarding reparations for the Black community have previously been given to the Supervisor Board of San Francisco. This was the first proposal to ever actually be approved by the city board. One such proposal that previously failed was proposed by the African American Reparations Advisory Committee. This proposal stated a plan that every eligible Black adult be given a $5 million lump-sum cash payment and a guaranteed annual income of $100,000.

In the same meeting in which the apology was issued, the Board spoke on some of the bills on the upcoming ballot.

One Supervisor, Dean Preston, spoke very candidly on his thoughts on some of the measures. One measure would further take away affording housing, allowing the predominantly Black neighborhood of Fillmore that he represents to become further gentrified. Additionally, he spoke poorly of two bills backed by Mayor London Breed in which one would require drug addiction screenings for welfare recipients and the other would put more power back into the police department. He expressed his beliefs that these would disproportionately affect Black residents of the city.

At this point, some have expressed that now that there is an apology for the past, they are wiped clean of responsibility for the present. Others have spoken out that the apology is not even sufficient for the past. We shall see in the upcoming months if any further action is taken.

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