The state Senate supported creating the nine-member commission on a bipartisan 33-3 vote Saturday. The measure returns to the Assembly for a final vote before lawmakers adjourn for the year on Monday, though Assembly members overwhelmingly already approved an earlier version of the bill.
“Let’s be clear: Chattel slavery, both in California and across our nation, birthed a legacy of racial harm and inequity that continues to impact the conditions of Black life in California,” said Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles.
She cited disproportionate homelessness, unemployment, involvement in the criminal justice system, lower academic performance and higher health risks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although California before the Civil War was officially a free state, Mitchell listed legal and judicial steps state officials took at the time to support slavery in Southern states while repressing Blacks.