San Francisco resident Pia Harris hopes for reparations in her lifetime. But the nonprofit program director is not confident that California lawmakers will turn the recommendations of a first-in-the-nation task force into concrete legislation given pushback from opponents who say slavery was a thing of the past.
It frustrates Harris, 45, that reparations opponents won’t acknowledge that life for Black people did not improve with the abolition of chattel slavery in 1865. Black families have been unable to accumulate wealth through property ownership and higher education. Black boys and teenagers are still told to watch out for law enforcement, and Black businesses struggle to get loans, she said.