On August 23, 2022, Community Health Councils (CHC) and the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California (CJEC) held a California (CA) Reparations Webinar, which doubled as an official listening session for the CA Reparations Task Force (CA RTF). CHC and CJEC strategically held the webinar on that date to commemorate the International Day for the
Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. The CA Reparations Webinar focused on defining reparations for American descendants of U.S. slaves/American Freedmen in CA, explaining the role of the CA RTF, and holding a discussion between top leaders working towards reparative justice in California. Our goal was to inform the community about how reparations address historical racism, Anti-Blackness, and how they are a vehicle to correct past wrongs and provide a space for the community to provide their personal testimonies.

Dr. Michelle Burton, Deputy CEO of CHC, introduced our organization and provided powerful words to demonstrate our dedication to the reparations effort in the state. The panel was moderated by Chris Lodgson from CJEC. Our panelists included Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis from the CA RTF, Khansa “Friday” Jones from the LA Reparations Advisory Committee, and Jan Williams from Downtown Crenshaw. With approximately 60 community members in attendance online via YouTube livestream and Zoom, (you can watch the recording here), community members across CA heard from each panelist on the current state of CA reparations, the push for increased collaboration between Pan-African and descendent led organization, and why CA reparations for descendants of slavery would benefit everyone, not just African American/Black communities. The panelists were also available to listen when community members shared their testimonies on what they believe life would look like after having achieved reparations. The webinar was closed out with calls to action such as taking the CA Reparations survey and submitting video testimony; which will be used to inform the CA RTF’s future decisions.

CHC is proud to have been a conduit for these important discussions and looks forward to further supporting the first-in-the-nation efforts towards reparative justice at the state level. We were so grateful to be able to host this webinar with and be supported by CJEC, which is an official anchor organization supporting the statewide reparations effort. It has held numerous listening sessions and is at the forefront of the fight for reparations. It’s so important for us to hold these informative events because they increase awareness of the work being done to uplift disadvantaged communities and empower community members to get involved in the fight for equity. To redress the racial wealth gap and correct past wrongs achieving reparations is one of our policy priorities and we will continue to support these efforts at the local, state, and federal level.

If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording here: California #Reparations Webinar & Listening Session: Hosted by CJEC & CHC