California Reparations Task Force Preliminary Recommendations Support Anti-Slavery Language Legislation ACA3

Senator Sydney Kamlager with California Abolition Act coalition members (Jamilia Land/ ASAP; Amika Mota/ SWFC; Angelique Evans (YWFC); Sonia Lewis (ASCRIBE); Allegra Taylor (Village Advocates) co-author Senator Nancy Skinner

Recommendations include deleting language from the California Constitution that allows involuntary servitude as punishment for crime

Special to the Vanguard

Sacramento, CA – The Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans issued its interim report on June 1 to the California Legislature. The interim report surveys the ongoing and compounding harms experienced by African Americans as a result of slavery and its lingering effects on American society today.

The interim report also includes a set of preliminary recommendations for policies that the California Legislature could adopt to remedy those harms.

Jamilia Land, co- founder of the Anti-Violence Safety and Accountability Project (ASAP) and co-chair of the California Abolition Act coalition said, “We are beyond grateful to the task force for its recommendation that the legislature pass ACA3: The California Abolition Act. We cant have an authentically honest conversation about reparations when slavery and vestiges of it are still legal and being practiced”.

Section XV. Preliminary Recommendations for Future Deliberation states “Enslavement/ End legal slavery in California by doing the following: 1)Deleting language from the California Constitution that permits involuntary servitude as punishment for crime by passing ACA3 (Kamlager).

2) Repealing Penal Code Section 2700, which states that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) “shall require of every able bodied prisoner imprisoned in any state prison as many hours of faithful labor in each day and every day during his or her term of imprisonment as shall be prescribed by the rules and regulations of the director of ”

3) Pass legislation that makes education, substance use and mental health treatment, and rehabilitative programs the first priority for incarcerated In addition, allow incarcerated people to make decisions regarding how they will spend their time and which programs and jobs they will do while incarcerated.

4) Require that incarcerated people who are working in prison or jail be paid a fair market rate for their labor. 5)Prohibit for-profit prison companies from operating within the system (i.e. companies that control phone calls, emails, and other communications).

6)Require that any goods or services available for purchase by incarcerated people and their families be provided at the same cost as those goods and services outside of prison. 7) Allow people who are incarcerated to continue to exercise their right to vote.

In December 2020 Samual N. Brown authored the proposal that is now Assembly Constitutional Amendment 3 while employed as an incarcerated healthcare facilities maintenance worker inside California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. On March 4, 2021 Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager (now California State Senator) announced ACA 3: The California Abolition Act to Abolish Involuntary Servitude. On June 15, 2021 ACA3 passed through the California State Assembly Public Safety Committee with a 59-0 vote and overwhelming support from California State Assemblymen/ Public Safety

Committee chair and member of the reparations task force, Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr. who stated “I’m on reparations! this should be part of it……” On March 22, 2022 the California Assembly advanced ACA3 through appropriations to the Senate Public Safety Committee.

During the hearing Assemblymember Ash Kalra stated, ““Our constitution serves as the guiding principle for all other state laws. There is no place for slavery, forced labor or involuntary servitude on our books.”

On May 31, 2022 Chris Lodgson, lead organizer for the Coalition For A Just & Equitable California (CJEC) testified before the California State Senate Public Safety Committee in support of ACA3. “I work with legislators and officials including now Secretary of State, Dr. Shirley Weber as well as our esteemed chair, Senator Bradford who helped enact the law that created the countries first reparations commission. I’m here today to urge your aye vote on ACA3 and to finally end current, ongoing slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime.

Article 1 section 6 of our state constitution which allows for involuntary forced labor is one of the most clear and unacceptable enduring badges and incidents of slavery.”

ACA3 will be heard next on June 13, 2022 in the Elections committee to be followed by a Senate floor vote. If passed before the June 30, 2022 deadline, ACA3 will become a proposition and be placed on the November 2022 ballot for Californians to vote on. The California Abolition Act is officially co-sponsored by: The Anti-

Violence Safety and Accountability Project (ASAP), Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition (SWFC) 10P Program, The Abolish Slavery National Network (ASNN), The Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) Prison from the Inside Out (PFTIO), Pride and Truth, The Village Advocates, ASCRIBE, Uncommon Law, Bend the Arc, EDIFYE, Fair Chance Project, F.U.E.L. ,March On, The Center for African Peace & Conflict Resolution- California State University Sacramento (CAPCR) and Courage Campaign.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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