Oakland to require contractors to disclose ties to slavery

OAKLAND — As lawmakers around the state are exploring potential ways to pay reparations for slavery, Oakland has revived and says it’ll enforce a seemingly forgotten city law that requires certain city contractors to disclose any historic ties to slavery.

The ordinance, approved by a city council 15 years ago, also creates a fund of reparations money that’s supposed to be disbursed to help residents in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. But it doesn’t force companies to put any money into the fund.

It applies to contractors that provide insurance or financial services to the city and to textile, tobacco, railroad, shipping, rice or sugar companies that do business with the city. Those businesses must complete affidavits confirming they searched company records for evidence that they had or hadn’t “bought or sold people subjected to slavery, used people subjected to slavery as collateral, provided loans to purchase people subjected to slavery,

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