SAN DIEGO (CNS) - California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, Monday appointed San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe to a nine-member task force exploring the idea of reparations for Black people in California.
The Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, with a Special Consideration for African Americans Who are Descendants of Persons Enslaved in the United States, was a result of Assembly Bill 3121, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October 2020.
"It is an honor to serve on this Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals, and I am grateful to Senate President pro Tempore Atkins for this appointment to continue my work in fighting for racial equity," Montgomery Steppe said. "This is an important first step to dismantle systemic racism and the barriers that African Americans have faced in this country since its beginning, and I look forward to the work of the task force."
Atkins also appointed Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, to the task force on Monday.
"As we enter into Black History Month -- and on the heels of a year of tragic events that underscored our nation's continued struggle to achieve equality and justice for Black Americans -- I am honored to name my colleague Senator Steven Bradford and Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe to the Reparations Task Force," Atkins said.
"Created by California's new Secretary of State, Dr. Shirley Weber, while she was in the Assembly, this historic task force is a crucial step forward in California's pursuit to reckon with our dark history of slavery and to cast light upon the shadows of systemic racism that continue to perpetuate within our institutions. As leaders, Senator Bradford and Councilmember Montgomery Steppe will provide great insight to the work this group will produce, pulling from both their lived experiences and their careers spent in public service," Atkins said.
The appointments do not require Senate Rules confirmation. AB 3121, directs Newsom to call the first committee hearing of the nine-member task force by June 1. According to the bill's text, it requires the task force "to recommend, among other things, the form of compensation that should be awarded, the instrumentalities through which it should be awarded, and who should be eligible for this compensation."
Montgomery Steppe has worked as a San Diego City Council staff member, a civil rights lawyer, a criminal justice advocate for ACLU San Diego and currently serves as Councilwoman of the Fourth District.
Bradford was a Gardena City Councilmember, an Assemblymember and is now a State Senator. He serves as chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus and chair of the Committee on Public Safety and previously served as chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color.