Reparations apology

Fill-No-More-Fillmore-bulldozed, Reparations apology, Local News & Views
One of the most egregious anti-Black attacks by the scourge of Redevelopment – or urban renewal, which Blacks call “Negro removal” – was the bulldozing of the entire Fillmore, displacing thousands of families and businesses. To the Fillmore, “Harlem of the West,” Blacks had been bringing the world’s biggest jazz acts, a dramatic tourist attraction. That was too much Black prosperity for San Francisco.

by Daphne Young

The African American Reparations Advisory Committee, also known as AARAC, is calling on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to adopt an Apology Resolution at the upcoming meeting of the Government and Audit Oversight Committee, on Feb. 15. (You can watch the meeting online at

“One of the recommendations [being made during that meeting] is for the BOS to approve a resolution that would urge the City of San Francisco to apologize to the Black community for the harm and almost irreversible trauma caused through SF policies that have negatively affected Black people for decades,” said Supervisor Shamann Walton.

Walton is author of the resolution and made the announcement during the Jan. 8 meeting of the African American Reparations Advisory Committee.

This resolution is just one of three overall recommendations included in the Final SF Reparations Plan:

“The City and County of San Francisco and its agencies must issue a formal apology for past harms, and commit to making substantial ongoing, systemic and programmatic investments in Black communities to address historical harms.” (Page 8)

“The City and County of San Francisco must establish an independent Office of Reparations within the City to execute this plan. This Office must track implementation of the recommendations of the Reparations Plan and ensure the continued success of programs.”

“The City and County of San Francisco must create and fund a committee of community stakeholders – such as a Reparations Stakeholder Authority or similar – to ensure equity and continuity in the implementation of relevant policy initiatives, independent of the City and County of San Francisco.”

  AARAC Final Reparations Plan

  San Francisco Human Rights Commission

The formal Resolution Apology is just part of the overall SF Reparations plan, which has 150 other recommendations that were presented to the full Board of Supervisors by AARAC back in September of 2023.

Other recommendations included in the 398-page report include $5 million payouts to each eligible person and the creation of an Afrocentric K-12 school.

In September 2023, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution accepting the final reparations report. But there was no guarantee that the recommendations would be implemented.

Also, in December, the committee received a blow from Mayor London Breed, who failed to fund a Reparations Office. 

Originally, the mayor agreed to a $4 million budget that would set aside funding to pay for a reparations office which would have helped create a database to help determine eligible reparations descendants. 

But, last month Mayor Breed reneged on her agreement to fund the reparations office and eliminated the funding entirely from the City’s budget.

It’s also important to note that another major obstacle for the reparations plans passing in California is Proposition 209. Prop 209. passed back in November of 1996, bans government institutions from taking affirmative actions based on race, sex or ethnicity.

But, AARAC members want to remind supporters of the reparations plan that Prop 209 does not prohibit the City from taking actions to redress harms done to Black communities. So, AARAC members believe San Francisco has an opportunity to remedy harms with ongoing discriminatory impacts.

“The world is watching San Francisco,” said AARAC committee member, Tiffany Carter, who believes City officials have been given the chance to right the wrongs against Blacks in San Francisco.

Carter made her comments at the Jan. 8, 2024, meeting of AARAC’s final reparations meeting, which can be watched in its entirety at

“We’ve made headlines good, bad and everything in between,” said Carter. “But, we submitted the report and now it’s up to all of us to push it through and to make sure that those recommendations get pushed through. We should be on everybody’s back – politicians, community, everybody. All hands on deck to make sure that Black San Francisco is part of the wealth of San Francisco.”

Over the years, Black communities in San Francisco like Bayview Hunters Point and the Fillmore District have suffered historic injustices that have yet to be addressed.

In the Fillmore District, the displacement of Black families and business during the 1960s and ‘70s was the result of President Harry Truman’s Housing Act of 1949, which fell under Truman’s “Fair Deal” initiative. The plan was meant to address the nation’s housing shortage by transitioning so-called “slums” into safer public housing. But, the Act failed to recognize the cost of destroying well-established communities, mostly Black, Brown and immigrant families.

Meanwhile, in the Bayview Hunters Point community, the toxic waste that was left at the U.S. Navy shipyard from atomic testing back in the 1940s, continues to plague residents, and has been chronicled and reported on for decades by the SF Bay View.

The goal of the African American Reparations Advisory Committee has been to come up with a plan to help amend and help repay some of these wrongdoings against African Americans in this city. Since the AARAC was created in 2020, the 16-member committee has come a long way. 

The Human Rights Commission is overseeing the SF Reparations Committee and says they will keep the general public updated on new developments with the SF Reparations plan. Plus, they’re working on scheduling future public meetings to allow the community to ask questions and share their views in person.

Here’s a look back at the timeline of the San Francisco Reparations Plan:

February 2020 – SF Board of Supervisor, Shamann Walton introduced AARAC legislation.

December 2020 – SF Board of Supervisors officially passes legislation to formally create AARAC.

June 2021 – AARAC holds its first meeting on June 1 and begins monthly meetings and research on reparations.

December 2021 – AARAC submits its first report to the SF Board of Supervisors, the mayor and the Human Rights Commission. Monthly meetings continue.

December 2022 – AARAC submits their Draft Report to the SF BOS, the mayor and the Human Rights Commission.

March 2023 – AARAC makes an official presentation of the Draft Report at City Hall before the SF Board of Supervisors and receives unofficial support for implementing the Final Reparations Plan.

June 2023 – AARAC submits Final Reparations Plan and recommendations to SF BOS, Mayor London Breed and the Human Rights Commission.

January 2024 – AARAC sunsets, having completed creating the Final SF Reparations Plan.

A full list of past meetings, along with meeting recordings, summaries and agendas can be found on the Human Rights Commissions website.

We invite you to stay informed!

Daphne Young is freelance journalist in San Francisco who currently writes and reports for the SF Bay View and the SF Chronicle. She also fills-in as an anchor and reporter at KQED Radio. The Chicago native has won numerous awards over the years and is a general assignment reporter who covers everything from breaking news, crime, social justice, business, sports and entertainment. Contact her at