San Francisco Issues Formal Apology To Black Residents For ‘Decades’ Of Discrimination
The Golden Gate Bridge tower with San Francisco cityscape in the background in California
(Getty Images)

The City of San Francisco has issued a formal apology to its black residents for what it calls “decades of systemic and structural discrimination.”

On Tuesday, city supervisors voted unanimously 11-0 in favor of a resolution containing the city’s formal apology to black San Franciscans.

“This historic resolution apologizes on behalf of San Francisco to the African American community and their descendants for decades of systemic and structural discrimination, targeted acts of violence, atrocities, as well as committing to the rectification and redress of past policies and misdeeds,” said Supervisor Shamann Walton, the sole black member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

“We have much more work to do, but this apology most certainly is an important step,” Walton said.

Despite its leftist politics, San Francisco is not the first U.S. city to issue a formal apology for racism.

In 2022, Boston became the first major city to issue a formal apology for its role in slavery. A city council resolution that passed in a unanimous vote condemned the “dastardliness” of slavery and the city’s legacy of “systemic white supremacy and racism.”

San Francisco’s formal apology is one of the less expensive proposals put forward by the city’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee, which was set up in 2020 by the Board of Supervisors.

The committee came up with the idea of giving each qualifying black resident $5 million in reparations and a guaranteed income of nearly $100,000 a year.

However, the chairman of the committee admitted they did not use a mathematical formula to come up with the $5 million number.

John Dennis, chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, said last year that he was open to a conversation about reparations but criticized the committee’s report as unserious.

“This is just a bunch of like-minded people who got in the room and came up with a number,” Dennis said last February. “You’ll notice in that report, there was no justification for the number, no analysis provided. This was an opportunity to do some serious work and they blew it.”

Meanwhile, California in 2020 established its own Reparations Task Force whose goal was to determine what cash slavery reparations could look like for black Californians.


In June, California’s task force sent its final report to the legislature. The report suggested several remedies for slavery, including monetary payments for the descendants of African American slaves amounting to $1.2 million for some people.

California voters are against cash reparations for slavery by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a September poll.

Nearly 60% of California voters said they oppose cash reparations payments, compared with 28% who said they would support it, the poll from the University of California Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found.

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