The chair of San Francisco’s reparations committee was slammed by Nancy Pelosi at a 9/11 service in the wake of the attacks after implying the US was to blame.
Rev. Amos Brown serves on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors which is considering recommendations from the city’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee to make amends for slavery.
The 14-person committee is looking at plans to pay black residents a $5million lump sum, wipe away debts and guaranteeing annual incomes of $97,000 for 250 years.
Nancy Pelosi, while serving as House Speaker, said she supported a bill that would establish a nationwide commission to study and consider slavery reparations.
However, two decades ago she rebuked Brown at a memorial service for the victims of the 9/11 attacks after he used it as a platform to air his left-wing views.
Rev. Amos Brown (speaking at a reparations rally outside San Francisco City Hall on March 14) serves on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors which is considering recommendations from the city’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee to make amends for slavery
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends an anniversary event for the Affordable Care Act in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 23 March 2023
People run away as the North Tower of World Trade Center collapses on 9/11
‘America, America, what did you do – either intentionally or unintentionally – in the world order, in Central America, in Africa where bombs are still blasting?’ Brown asked from the pulpit.
‘America, what did you do in the global warming conference when you did not embrace the smaller nations? America, what did you do two weeks ago when I stood at the world conference on racism, when you wouldn’t show up?’
Paul Holm, who was attending to represent his dead partner Mark Bingham, walked out of the service, saying: ‘I thought this was a day of remembrance and not a political event.’
Pelosi was the only Democrat on stage who reproached Brown for his insensitive remarks.
‘The act of terrorism on September 11 put those people outside the order of civilized behavior, and we will not take responsibility for that,’ she told the audience.
Amos earlier this month made an about-face on plans to pay $5million in reparations to every black resident of San Francisco, saying he now believes the cash should go to community projects instead.
The reason for his reversed position is unclear.
Speaking on behalf of the San Francisco NAACP, Brown called for the city to redirect its focus on education, jobs, housing, healthcare and a cultural center for black people.
In a statement, Brown said: ‘We strongly believe that creating and funding programs that can improve the lives of those who have been impacted by racism and discrimination is the best path forward towards equality and justice.’
It comes after a public meeting of San Fran’s Board of Supervisors on March 14 to allow people to air their views on a plan to provide reparations to black residents.
The NAACP directly responded to the discussion, saying that the investment needed to be in education, healthcare and economic empowerment – both of which are in line with the California taskforce and the AARAC suggestions.
Brown said: ‘Black students don’t perform as well as their peers. We need remedial programs to help our children with reading, math, and science.
‘The school district and the city have a moral obligation to raise up all children and especially those whose families have been disadvantaged by discrimination.
Activists calling for reparations staged a rally on March 14 ahead of the 3pm Board of Supervisors meeting, at which the public could share their views
A taskforce set up by California Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging the federal government to pay every African American in the US at least $223k for ‘housing discrimination’ – while continuing to probe other areas for compensation
Who qualifies for reparations under the AARC plan?
You must be:
1) An individual who has identified as ‘Black/African American’ on public documents for at least 10 years
2) 18 years or older
You must also meet two of these eight criteria, and be able to prove it:
** Born in San Francisco between 1940 and 1996 and has proof of residency in San Francisco for at least 13 years
** Migrated to San Francisco between 1940 and 1996 and has proof of residency in San Francisco for at least 13 years
** Personally, or the direct descendant of someone, incarcerated by the failed War on Drugs
** Record of attendance in San Francisco public schools during the time of the consent decree to complete desegregation within the school system
** Descendant of someone enslaved through US chattel slavery before 1865
** Displaced, or the direct descendant of someone displaced, from San Francisco by Urban Renewal between 1954 and 1973
** Listed, or the direct descendant of, a Certificate of Preference holder
** Member of an historically marginalized group that experienced lending discrimination in San Francisco between 1937 and 1968 or, subsequently, experienced lending discrimination in formerly redlined San Francisco communities between 1968 and 2008
‘With President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill we want to see more black people get the opportunity to get jobs on the billions of dollars in infrastructure work that will be done in our community in our state.
‘Blacks don’t have the same lifespan as the majority of the population. We need programming that positively impacts our health, longevity and mental state.’
He also urged the city to create a ‘black center of town’ and to ‘preserve and protect the Fillmore Heritage Centre’.
Civil rights leader Brown studied under Martin Luther King Jr, and was arrested during a sit-in in 1961 to protest segregation in the south.
He told the San Francisco Chronicle that ‘America is a racist country’ and he knows that, as well as explaining his great-great-grandfather was born enslaved in 1821.
Gavin Newsom’s reparation committee separately recommended that every African American slave descendant should be paid $223,000 for ‘housing discrimination’ by the federal government – while continuing to probe other areas for compensation.
It is unclear if the recommendations by the group will be introduced nationally, but if so it could mean tha Brown may be one of the recipients of the $223,000 that group recommended.
The California taskforce believes that black Americans should receive the money for ‘enduring the economic effects’ of racism and slavery – after initially making the suggestions in the state.
In a March 2022 report, the group said that those eligible for the reparations would have to be descendants of enslaved African Americans or of a ‘free black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century.
They argue that the money is for housing discrimination practices utilized from 1933 to 1977 – and have 12 more categories to consider.
San Francisco’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee released a draft report in December to ‘address the public policies explicitly created to subjugate Black people in San Francisco by upholding and expanding the intent and legacy of chattel slavery.’
The group is also proposing that the government wipes out all debts associated with education, credit card, payday loans and personal loans for black households.
It is separate from the task force created by California’s legislature, which is also studying reparations, with the San Francisco committee being formed in May 2021.
As a result, the proposal could cost the city, which has a 2022-2023 budget of $14billion, roughly $50billion.
Those eligible must be 18 and show that they have identified as black or African American on public documents for at least ten years.
The proposals put forward in San Francisco on March 14 are among some of the most generous to be heard to date.
Another meeting has been scheduled for September.