San Francisco’s $75 Million Budget Cut Delays Reparations Office Rollout

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Mayor London Breed’s San Francisco budget proposal stirred controversy by excluding funding for the Office of Reparations amid $75 million in city-wide financial cuts.

This omission has drawn criticism, particularly from Program Supervisor Shamann Walton, who expressed disappointment and emphasized the importance of reparations for the Black community in San Francisco.

While acknowledging the city’s financial constraints, Walton remained resolute in advocating for justice and equity through reparations, voicing hope for a swift resolution to the deficit to honor the commitment made to address historical injustices endured by Black San Franciscans.

San Francisco had initially requested $50 million for the next fiscal year, but Walton’s request was gradually scaled back until it was only granted a paltry $2 million in temporary funding before Breed withdrew support for the Office’s operations for the following three years.

Despite this setback, advocates maintain their dedication to reparations initiatives, including plans to establish a satellite campus of a historically black college in the Bay Area. 

San Francisco’s Commitment

san-francisco's-$75-million-budget-cut-delays-reparations-office-rollout
Mayor London Breed’s San Francisco budget proposal stirred controversy by excluding funding for the Office of Reparations amid $75 million in city-wide financial cuts.

Sheryl Davis, the director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, affirmed their commitment to leveraging existing budget allocations to continue the crucial work behind the scenes.

The discussion around reparations took a poignant turn in December 2022 when an advisory committee suggested allocating $5 million to long-time Black residents of the city. However, Walton criticized this figure, asserting that it paled in comparison to comprehensive research on the subject conducted over several decades.

Walton firmly stated that there isn’t a definitive monetary value that can adequately address the extensive historical injustices faced by the Black community. He highlighted the complexities and atrocities suffered over generations, emphasizing that the impacts of such systemic 

injustices cannot be quantified merely in monetary terms.

Eric McDonnell, chairman of the African American Reparations Advisory Committee, acknowledged that the suggested figure lacked a strict mathematical basis. 

McDonnell emphasized the committee’s journey toward determining an amount that could significantly contribute to the economic empowerment and well-being of affected families, attempting to counter the devastating effects of historical injustices.

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