What is the Task Force process?
The task force will hold meetings, currently scheduled through November, 2023, to explore the establishment of a program of reparations for BUSD students with ancestors who were enslaved in the U.S. Agendas for the meetings will be posted each meeting month at this link. The ultimate goal of the Task Force is to produce viable recommendations to the Board of Education.
The Task Force process will include:
- Relationship building to ground Task Force members in both who they are and the work ahead and to understand personal beliefs and perspectives on reparations
- Understanding the context of this work, including reviewing examples of reparations that currently exist
- Researching, reporting out and discussing options and opportunities for BUSD
- Developing opportunities for community engagement
Who will facilitate the task force?
The District has selected Kad Smith to serve as the facilitator of the Task Force. Mr. Smith previously served as the Project Director at CompassPoint, a leadership development practice based in Oakland that “helps leaders, nonprofit organizations, and movements committed to social justice realize their full power.” He also previously served as the co-chair of Measure Y1 (Youth Voting). Mr. Smith is a BHS alumni who has gone back to school and is now enrolled at USF Law School.
Will there be community engagement?
Yes. The Task Force will work to develop a manner and timing for engaging our BUSD and Berkeley community in ideas and strategies surfaced and explored at meetings as well as how recommendations will be reported out.
The Task Force will update the Board of Education at Board meetings during the period it is meeting. Once the Task Force has completed its process, recommendations will be presented to the Board of Education. At that time, the Board of Education will engage in public discussion about the recommendations as an open session item to deliberate and take action, as appropriate.
How was the membership decided?
The Task Force is made up of BUSD students, BUSD parents/caregivers, Berkeley community members, and BUSD staff (on their personal time). Members completed an interest form and final membership was based on a variety of factors, including availability for meetings and alignment with desired district and community roles (staff, students, parents/caregivers, community members, etc.).
Who is on the Task Force?
The Task Force is comprised of the following:
- 10 community members (inclusive of BUSD parents)
- 3 BUSD students
- 5 BUSD staff members
The Task Force facilitator also serves as an ex-officio member. The Task Force may invite experts and other knowledgeable community members to attend individual meetings and assist the Task Force. There is also a space for board members to rotate in and participate in the task force meetings so long as the Brown Act is followed.
Are the meetings public or posted to the district’s YouTube channel?
The regular meetings of the Task Force are not recorded or open to the public. It is important for the Task Force to be thoughtful and thorough in their work and to have the opportunity to openly and honestly share, research, and discuss ideas. Given the kind of attention that similar bodies have experienced, we want to make sure that the Task Force can do its work safely and without constant disruption and interruption.
Has the District held other Task Force meetings that were not recorded or open to the general public?
The privacy of the group in early formation is paramount to setting the Task Force members up for success. Current public interest extends well beyond Berkeley and considerations for Task Force members safety is a top priority for the district.
We value transparency and regular engagement throughout the process. The Task force is posting meeting agendas/presentations on the Reparations Task Force webpage and will provide updates at Board of Education meetings.