"The time is always right to do the right thing" —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
LA Official Says the Time has Come for America to Return More Stolen Land
LOS ANGELES — "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact," the great philosopher Marcus Aurelius once said. This explains why true philosophy deals with facts, not opinions.
The facts say the Bruces, a Black family, purchased land on Manhattan Beach in 1912. The facts then say city officials seized this land in 1924. The facts then tie a ribbon around the matter when adding: not until roughly a century later was the land finally returned to Bruce family descendants.
The facts say Los Angeles has the largest indigenous population of any city in the nation. Of course, those very facts also say Native American tribes — such as the Gabrielino/Tongva and Tataviam — still struggle to have city officials acknowledge their ancestors were kicked off the land, which today is called Los Angeles County.
The technical term for the above policies is settler colonialism.
Perhaps Coelho put it best when noting that "everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time." In other words, whenever something repeatedly occurs, you can rest assured there's a pattern.
On April 9, Janice Hahn announced what she considered a small step in reversing this age-old pattern. By returning land to the Bruces, Hahn hopes this marks a turning point.
"We as a collective society should apologize," Hahn publically acknowledged.
On Friday, Hahn told TMZ the time has come for other local governments to follow her lead:
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.
What Hahn seems to be grappling with here is the age-old debate about reparations for slavery. In fact, Congress recently revisited the issue.
A House committee debated a bill in late February that would reexamine "how the U.S. government supported slavery from 1619 to 1865 and created laws that discriminated against formerly enslaved people and their descendants."
Abraham Lincoln, widely considered our nation's greatest president, set in motion the “40 acres and a mule” promise to former slaves. Of course, when Lincoln was assassinated for holding such radical views, views which aren't radical when viewed in the light of facts, his successor Andrew Johnson abruptly overturned the Order.
In short, perhaps Hahn is merely leading the charge to honor why the time is always right to do the right thing. Or as she so eloquently puts it:
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.