What Reparations Look Like for Black Californians
From Bruce’s Beach to Leimert Park, a movement is underway. Here’s how you can be part of the progress.
During this morning’s post-meditation scroll through my Instagram feed, I learned that a few of my local business owner friends, Tony Jolly of HOT and COOL CAFE and Ade Neff of Ride On Bike Shop Co-Op — along with another Leimert Park shop owner — are looking to buy the building in which they're all currently leasing. For more than 50 years, Leimert Park has been the hub of Black arts and culture in Los Angeles, but much of the property in and around the Leimert Park Village business district isn’t owned by Black folks.
The issue goes back decades to Jim Crow-era laws that weren’t just regulated to the South. The West Coast — California, included — had its own restrictive covenants that that prevented Black and Asians from owning property in certain areas; laws that were also used to steal land owned by people of color, including the most high profile case of Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach, which was recently reverted back to the family of the land’s original owners.
The land buy back in Leimert Park, the results of which could serve as a HUGE economic boon for Black business owners in Leimert Park and the surrounding community, is part of an ongoing movement for reparations throughout the Golden State.
Currently the California Reparations Task Force, a committee consisting of nine appointed representatives researching the racist, anti-Black experiences of Black Californians, are compiling data on these experiences to create recommendations based on their findings and community input to present to California legislators and the Governor.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has launched a $1 billion Reconnecting Communities program that rejoins cities and neighborhoods that were racially segregated or divided by federal road projects. Highways have long been built at the expense of racial equity. My father, now 78, still remembers when the 10 Freeway was built, moving thousands of Black, Asian and…