Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, along with several other local officials, have hatched a plan that they’re claiming to be part of a reparations push to make amends to Black families in America that includes returning land to them once owned by ancestors.
According to Hahn’s announcement on Friday, this month she will give back land to black owners lost through eminent domain to their descendants added other governments outside of Los Angeles should follow her lead, Breitbart News reported.
“I think this is the first time in our nation that a government has given land back to an African American family to make amends for past discrimination and atrocities and policies that were enacted, that really limited African Americans’ ability to own businesses, to own property, to even buy homes in certain neighborhoods,” she told TMZ on Friday.
“This is a very small step towards what I think this whole country should be doing — and that is working to repair and to make amends with the African Americans in this country,” she added.
In The LA Times report on the push, the publication said that Hahn initiated the efforts and the county said in the discussion that they will speak to the Bruce family about what is next, should the bill pass. IN that case, the county would likely lease the land back from the family.
Supervisor Janice Hahn, who had initiated these efforts by the county to return the land, said the county is in discussions with the Bruce family about what’s next — if the bill passes, the county will likely lease the land from the family.
“I believe that the best part about this is that we will be allowed to transfer the property back to the descendants of the family and let them decide what they want to do,” she said. “The Bruce family had their California dream stolen from them.”
The land in question is, according to the times, a beachfront plot on the Manhattan Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles, which the owners lost through eminent domain in 1924.
“The plot is now worth about $72 million. Homes along the beachfront regularly sell for $20 million, according to a real estate broker’s listings website,” the times reported.
“We stand here today to introduce a bill that will correct this gross injustice and allow the land to be returned to the Bruce family,” state Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) said Friday. “It is my hope that this legislation will not be the last in a series of actions by the state to address centuries of atrocious actions against Black Americans.”
Designated Bruce family representative Duane Shepard Sr. said, “We reserve our rights on this Earth to be men, to be women, to be human beings, to be given the rights of human beings, to be given the respect of human beings, in this country in this day and in this society in this damn city,” Shepard said.
“We can’t change what happened to the Bruce family, and the hundreds, maybe thousands of others throughout California’s history who were robbed of their property,” said Supervisor Holly Mitchell, who emphasized that the county isn’t “gifting” anything — it’s returning what was lawfully owned by the Bruce family.
While individual property rights may well be in question, the concept of reparations is uncomfortable to many because of its basis in Critical Race Theory and the idea that White people today should make up for injustices of the past. To what degree and in what form, is yet to be determined.