SB 796 enables Los Angeles County Regulators to begin the land transfer to the Bruce family immediately
The state’s work to redeem historical injustices and promote justice includes the nation’s first task force to study reparations for African Americans, reforms for a more equitable criminal justice system, and investing in a just recovery
MANHATTAN BEACH – Nearly a century after Bruce’s Beach was wrongly stolen from black entrepreneurs Willa and Charles Bruce, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed a bill that will allow Los Angeles County to return the beachfront property to its descendants and continue running the state, to fix historical injustices and advance equity.
The governor signed SB 796 today at Bruce’s Beach from Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), along with Bruce family members, lawmakers, and local leaders. The emergency, sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, authorizes the county to immediately begin transferring parcels of the Manhattan Beach property to the Bruce family.
“As we strive to resolve this nearly a century-old injustice, California is taking another step to advance our commitment to realizing the California Dream for communities shamefully excluded by a history of racial exclusion,” said Governor Newsom. “We know our work is just beginning to make up for our past, and California won’t shy away from facing the structural racism and bias that people of color continue to face today. I thank the Bruce family, Senator Bradford, the Los Angeles County overseers, and all those who have fought to keep the legacy of this place alive and to ensure this long overdue justice. “
The Bruces bought the property in 1912 and established a popular resort for black residents that was a fixture in the community. The Bruces endured years of racial harassment and violence, and in 1924 Manhattan Beach City officials eventually confiscated their property from a major domain. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County Board of Trustees unanimously voted for a land transfer to the Bruce family on proposals co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn and Supervisor Holly Mitchell.
“SB 796 shows us that it is never too late to address past injustices,” said Senator Bradford. “If you can inherit generational fortunes in this country, you can inherit generational debts as well. The city of Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County, and the state of California owe the Bruce family. This law passed the legislature unanimously and with the overwhelming support of the community, which makes it clear that our state is committed to directly combating systemic racism. As a member of the California Reparations Task Force, this is an example of what real reparations can look like. I applaud Governor Newsom for helping us pay off our centuries-old debts by allowing Los Angeles County to move on and return Bruce’s Beach to its rightful owners – the Bruce family. “
Governor Newsom signs law to return Bruce’s Beach to the family.
“This is a milestone for us, and I want to thank not only Governor Newsom for signing this bill, but Senator Bradford for his guidance and all of the state lawmakers for their unanimous support,” said Supervisor Hahn. “The work is far from over. Now that LA County has official authority to transfer this property, my goal for the next several months will be to transfer this property in a way that not only works for the Bruce family, but is a model that other local governments can use can follow. The return of Bruce’s Beach can and should set a precedent for this nation, and I know that all eyes will be on Los Angeles County when this work gets underway. “
Under Governor Newsom, California made strides to promote racial justice. Earlier this year, the governor appointed officers from a wide variety of backgrounds to serve on the new African American Redemption Investigation and Restitution Task Force, which includes Senator Bradford. The nation’s first task force was formed under then-member Shirley Weber’s law, which the governor signed last year.
With the aim of combating structural racism and systemic injustice, the governor has passed a moratorium on the death penalty, which is wrongly imposed on people of color, among others, and has signed critical reforms to create a fairer criminal justice system. Such efforts include a law signed today to create a system to decertify peace officials for serious misconduct, reforms to ban carotid artery restriction requiring the attorney general to investigate certain police shootings, and reorganizing juvenile justice to place more emphasis on rehabilitation . In support of an equitable recovery, the governor has provided unprecedented aid to Californians hardest hit by the pandemic, made historic investments in school funding to increase opportunities across the board, and funded targeted assistance to underserved communities.
Continuing the leadership of the state to redress historical injustices, Governor Newsom signed a law last week authorizing Caltrans to Transfer of the Blues Beach property in Mendocino County to local Native American tribes following the announcement of last year’s government support for tribal access, joint management and acquisition of ancestral land. As part of the state’s ongoing efforts to identify and make up for racist place names, the state park and recreation The commission decided today to press ahead with the park’s first name change in the state of California, renaming Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park, in honor of the original name for this area used by the Yuroks.