Georgetown Students Agree to Create Reparations Fund

Students at Georgetown University voted on Thursday to increase their tuition to benefit descendants of the 272 enslaved Africans that the Jesuits who ran the school sold nearly two centuries ago to secure its financial future.

The fund they voted to create would represent the first instance of reparations for slavery by a prominent American organization.

The proposal passed with two-thirds of the vote, but the student-led referendum was nonbinding, and the university’s board of directors must approve the measure before it can take effect.

“We value the engagement of our students and appreciate that they are making their voices heard and contributing to an important national conversation,” Todd Olson, vice president for student affairs, said in a statement on Thursday.

The undergraduate student body voted to add a new fee of $27.20 per student per semester to their tuition bill, with the proceeds devoted to supporting education and health care programs in Louisiana and Maryland, where many of 4,000 known living descendants of the 272 enslaved people now reside.

A 2016 article in The New York Times described the 1838 sale by what was then Georgetown College, the premier Catholic institution of higher learning in America at the time.

The college relied on Jesuit-owned plantations in Maryland that were no longer producing a reliable income to support it, so the Jesuit priests who founded and ran Georgetown decided to raise cash by selling virtually all its slaves, receiving the equivalent of about $3.3 million in today’s money.

“The school wouldn’t be here without them,” said Shepard Thomas, a junior from New Orleans who is part of the campus group, Students for the GU272, that worked to hold the referendum. Mr. Thomas, a psychology major, is descended from slaves who were part of the 1838 sale.

“Students here always talk about changing the world after they graduate,” he said. “Why not change the world when you’re here?”

Mr. Thomas said the amount of the fee, $27.20, was chosen to evoke the number of people sold but not be too onerous for students. Tuition and fees for a full-time student per semester is $27,720.00.

Georgetown University agreed in 2016 to give admissions preference to descendants of the 272 slaves; Mr. Thomas was one of the first to be admitted under the policy. The school also formally apologized for its role in slavery, and has renamed two buildings on its campus to acknowledge the lives of slaves; one is now named for Isaac Hawkins, the first person listed in the 1838 sale.

The university has about 7,000 undergraduates, so the fee would raise about $380,000 a year for the fund.

“It makes me feel happy that we, as students, decided to set a precedent for the betterment of people’s lives,” Mr. Thomas said.

 

Originally posted by Adeel Hassan at The New York Times

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Privileged

When the police break your teammate’s leg, you’d think it would wake you up a little.

When they arrest him on a New York street, throw him in jail for the night, and leave him with a season-ending injury, you’d think it would sink in. You’d think you’d know there was more to the story.

You’d think.

But nope.

I still remember my reaction when I first heard what happened to Thabo. It was 2015, late in the season. Thabo and I were teammates on the Hawks, and we’d flown into New York late after a game in Atlanta. When I woke up the next morning, our team group text was going nuts. Details were still hazy, but guys were saying, Thabo hurt his leg? During an arrest? Wait — he spent the night in jail?! Everyone was pretty upset and confused.

Well, almost everyone. My response was….. different. I’m embarrassed to admit it.

Which is why I want to share it today.

Before I tell the rest of this story, let me just say real quick — Thabo wasn’t some random teammate of mine, or some guy in the league who I knew a little bit. We’d become legitimate friends that year in our downtime. He was my go-to teammate to talk with about stuff beyond the basketball world. Politics, religion, culture, you name it — Thabo brought a perspective that wasn’t typical of an NBA player. And it’s easy to see why: Before we were teammates in Atlanta, the guy had played professional ball in France, Turkey and Italy. He spoke three languages! Thabo’s mother was from Switzerland, and his father was from South Africa. They lived together in South Africa before Thabo was born, then left because of apartheid.

It didn’t take long for me to figure out that Thabo was one of the most interesting people I’d ever been around. We respected each other. We were cool, you know? We had each other’s backs.

Anyway — on the morning I found out that Thabo had been arrested, want to know what my first thought was? About my friend and teammate? My first thought was: What was Thabo doing out at a club on a back-to-back??

Yeah. Not, How’s he doing? Not, What happened during the arrest?? Not, Something seems off with this story. Nothing like that. Before I knew the full story, and before I’d even had the chance to talk to Thabo….. I sort of blamed Thabo.

I thought, Well, if I’d been in Thabo’s shoes, out at a club late at night, the police wouldn’t have arrested me. Not unless I was doing something wrong.

Cringe.

It’s not like it was a conscious thought. It was pure reflex — the first thing to pop into my head.

And I was worried about him, no doubt.

But still. Cringe.

A few months later, a jury found Thabo not guilty on all charges. He settled with the city over the NYPD’s use of force against him. And then the story just sort of….. disappeared. It fell away from the news. Thabo had surgery and went through rehab. Pretty soon, another NBA season began — and we were back on the court again.

Life went on.

But I still couldn’t shake my discomfort.

I mean, I hadn’t been involved in the incident. I hadn’t even been there. So why did I feel like I’d let my friend down?

Why did I feel like I’d let myself down?


A few weeks ago, something happened at a Jazz home game that brought back many of those old questions.

Maybe you saw it: We were playing against the Thunder, and Russell Westbrook and a fan in the crowd exchanged words during the game. I didn’t actually see or hear what happened, and if you were following on TV or on Twitter, maybe you had a similar initial viewing of it. Then, after the game, one of our reporters asked me for my response to what had gone down between Russ and the fan. I told him I hadn’t seen it — and added something like, But you know Russ. He gets into it with the crowd a lot.

Of course, the full story came out later that night. What actually happened was that a fan had said some really ugly things at close range to Russ. Russ had then responded. After the game, he’d said he felt the comments were racially charged.

The incident struck a nerve with our team.

In a closed-door meeting with the president of the Jazz the next day, my teammates shared stories of similar experiences they’d had — of feeling degraded in ways that went beyond acceptable heckling. One teammate talked about how his mom had called him right after the game, concerned for his safety in SLC. One teammate said the night felt like being “in a zoo.” One of the guys in the meeting was Thabo — he’s my teammate in Utah now. I looked over at him, and remembered his night in NYC.

Everyone was upset. I was upset — and embarrassed, too. But there was another emotion in the room that day, one that was harder to put a finger on. It was almost like….. disappointment, mixed with exhaustion. Guys were just sick and tired of it all.

This wasn’t the first time they’d taken part in conversations about race in their NBA careers, and it wasn’t the first time they’d had to address the hateful actions of others. And one big thing that got brought up a lot in the meeting was how incidents like this — they weren’t only about the people directly involved. This wasn’t only about Russ and some heckler. It was about more than that.

It was about what it means just to exist right now — as a person of color in a mostly white space.

It was about racism in America.

Before the meeting ended, I joined the team’s demand for a swift response and a promise from the Jazz organization that it would address the concerns we had. I think my teammates and I all felt it was a step in the right direction.

But I don’t think anyone felt satisfied.


There’s an elephant in the room that I’ve been thinking about a lot over these last few weeks. It’s the fact that, demographically, if we’re being honest: I have more in common with the fans in the crowd at your average NBA game than I have with the players on the court.

And after the events in Salt Lake City last month, and as we’ve been discussing them since, I’ve really started to recognize the role those demographics play in my privilege. It’s like — I may be Thabo’s friend, or Ekpe’s teammate, or Russ’s colleague; I may work with those guys. And I absolutely 100% stand with them.

But I look like the other guy.

And whether I like it or not? I’m beginning to understand how that means something.

What I’m realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for NBA and WNBA players of color….. I’m still in this conversation from the privileged perspective of opting in to it. Which of course means that on the flip side, I could just as easily opt out of it. Every day, I’m given that choice — I’m granted that privilege — based on the color of my skin.

In other words, I can say every right thing in the world: I can voice my solidarity with Russ after what happened in Utah. I can evolve my position on what happened to Thabo in New York. I can be that weird dude in Get Out bragging about how he’d have voted for Obama a third term. I can condemn every racist heckler I’ve ever known.

But I can also fade into the crowd, and my face can blend in with the faces of those hecklers, any time I want.

I realize that now. And maybe in years past, just realizing something would’ve felt like progress. But it’s NOT years past — it’s today. And I know I have to do better. So I’m trying to push myself further.

I’m trying to ask myself what I should actually do.

How can I — as a white man, part of this systemic problem — become part of the solution when it comes to racism in my workplace? In my community? In this country?

These are the questions that I’ve been asking myself lately.

And I don’t think I have all the answers yet — but here are the ones that are starting to ring the most true:

I have to continue to educate myself on the history of racism in America.

I have to listen. I’ll say it again, because it’s that important. I have to listen.

I have to support leaders who see racial justice as fundamental — as something that’s at the heart of nearly every major issue in our country today. And I have to support policies that do the same.

I have to do my best to recognize when to get out of the way — in order to amplify the voices of marginalized groups that so often get lost.

But maybe more than anything?

I know that, as a white man, I have to hold my fellow white men accountable.

We all have to hold each other accountable.

And we all have to be accountable — period. Not just for our own actions, but also for the ways that our inaction can create a “safe” space for toxic behavior.

And I think the standard that we have to hold ourselves to, in this crucial moment….. it’s higher than it’s ever been. We have to be active. We have to be actively supporting the causes of those who’ve been marginalized — precisely because they’ve been marginalized.


Two concepts that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately are guilt and responsibility.

When it comes to racism in America, I think that guilt and responsibility tend to be seen as more or less the same thing. But I’m beginning to understand how there’s a real difference.

As white people, are we guilty of the sins of our forefathers? No, I don’t think so.

But are we responsible for them? Yes, I believe we are.

And I guess I’ve come to realize that when we talk about solutions to systemic racism — police reform, workplace diversity, affirmative action, better access to healthcare, even reparations? It’s not about guilt. It’s not about pointing fingers, or passing blame.

It’s about responsibility. It’s about understanding that when we’ve said the word “equality,” for generations, what we’ve really meant is equality for a certain group of people. It’s about understanding that when we’ve said the word “inequality,” for generations, what we’ve really meant is slavery, and its aftermath — which is still being felt to this day. It’s about understanding on a fundamental level that black people and white people, they still have it different in America. And that those differences come from an ugly history….. not some random divide.

And it’s about understanding that Black Lives Matter, and movements like it, matter, because — well, let’s face it: I probably would’ve been safe on the street that one night in New York. And Thabo wasn’t. And I was safe on the court that one night in Utah. And Russell wasn’t.


But as disgraceful as it is that we have to deal with racist hecklers in NBA arenas in 2019? The truth is, you could argue that that kind of racism is “easier” to deal with.

Because at least in those cases, the racism is loud and clear. There’s no ambiguity — not in the act itself, and thankfully not in the response: we throw the guy out of the building, and then we ban him for life.

But in many ways the more dangerous form of racism isn’t that loud and stupid kind. It isn’t the kind that announces itself when it walks into the arena. It’s the quiet and subtle kind. The kind that almost hides itself in plain view. It’s the person who does and says all the “right” things in public: They’re perfectly friendly when they meet a person of color. They’re very polite. But in private? Well….. they sort of wish that everyone would stop making everything “about race” all the time.

It’s the kind of racism that can seem almost invisible — which is one of the main reasons why it’s allowed to persist.

And so, again, banning a guy like Russ’s heckler? To me, that’s the “easy” part. But if we’re really going to make a difference as a league, as a community, and as a country on this issue….. it’s like I said — I just think we need to push ourselves another step further.

First, by identifying that less visible, less obvious behavior as what it is: racism.

And then second, by denouncing that racism — actively, and at every level.

That’s the bare minimum of where we have to get to, I think, if we’re going to consider the NBA — or any workplace — as anything close to part of the solution in 2019.


I’ll wrap this up in a minute — but first I have one last thought.

The NBA is over 75% players of color.

Seventy-five percent.

People of color, they built this league. They’ve grown this league. People of color have made this league into what it is today. And I guess I just wanted to say that if you can’t find it in your heart to support them — now? And I mean actively support them?

If the best that you can do for their cause is to passively “tolerate” it? If that’s the standard we’re going to hold ourselves to — to blend in, and opt out?

Well, that’s not good enough. It’s not even close.

I know I’m in a strange position, as one of the more recognized white players in the NBA. It’s a position that comes with a lot of….. interesting undertones. And it’s a position that makes me a symbol for a lot of things, for a lot of people — often people who don’t know anything about me. Usually, I just ignore them. But this doesn’t feel like a “usually” moment.

This feels like a moment to draw a line in the sand.

I believe that what’s happening to people of color in this country — right now, in 2019 — is wrong.

The fact that black Americans are more than five times as likely to be incarcerated as white Americans is wrong. The fact that black Americans are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as white Americans is wrong. The fact that black unemployment rates nationally are double that of overall unemployment rates is wrong. The fact that black imprisonment rates for drug charges are almost six times higher nationally than white imprisonment rates for drug charges is wrong. The fact that black Americans own approximately one-tenth of the wealth that white Americans own is wrong.

The fact that inequality is built so deeply into so many of our most trusted institutions is wrong.

And I believe it’s the responsibility of anyone on the privileged end of those inequalities to help make things right.

So if you don’t want to know anything about me, outside of basketball, then listen — I get it. But if you do want to know something? Know I believe that.

Know that about me.

If you’re wearing my jersey at a game? Know that about me. If you’re planning to buy my jersey for someone else…… know that about me. If you’re following me on social media….. know that about me. If you’re coming to Jazz games and rooting for me….. know that about me.

And if you’re claiming my name, or likeness, for your own cause, in any way….. know that about me. Know that I believe this matters.

Thanks for reading.

Time for me to shut up and listen.

 

Originally posted by Kyle Korver on theplayerstribune.com

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Reparations: A Conversation Worth Having

The debate on when it is relevant to apologize and pay reparations for misdeeds and human rights violations tells us that the past is never dead.

 

Supporters of American slavery reparations in Washington in 2002.CreditCreditManny Ceneta/Getty Images

MEXICO CITY — Three weeks ago and 500 years after the arrival of Hernán Cortés in Veracruz, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico sent a letter to the king of Spain. In it, he demanded an apology for the abuses inflicted on the indigenous peoples of Mexico by Spain, in view of what the Spaniards now consider “human rights violations.”

And last week the prime minister of Belgium apologized in Parliament for the kidnapping, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples in its former African colonies.

National apologies for misdeeds, crimes and odious behavior are not new. The West German government of Konrad Adenauer paid billionsin reparations to the state of Israel and Jewish people for Nazi crimes. Former President Jacques Chirac of France apologized for deporting thousands of Jews to Nazi death camps.

The reparations debate in the United States continues. A bill known as H.R. 40 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers every year from 1989 until his resignation in 2017. It called for a formal study of the impact of slavery on African-Americans living today and the development of a proposal for reparations, among other things. The bill was reintroduced this year by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee. Most recently, several contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, most notably Elizabeth Warren, have expressed some level of support for reparations for the descendants of enslaved men and women.

The past five centuries of world history have featured conquests, plunder, torture, genocide, slavery, occupation and worse. The trend toward asking forgiveness and making reparations is overall a good thing. It acknowledges history while pointing a way forward, whether it be consolidating a national identity in Mexico, apologizing for atrocious colonial misdeeds in Africa or addressing inequality between blacks and whites in America.

The debate over the Spanish and Portuguese conquests of what is now called Latin America took on a new meaning after 1992, when the former colonial powers and former colonies met to revisit and discuss Columbus’s arrival in the New World.

The Mexican case is especially complicated. Several polls showed Mexicans disagreed on Mr. López Obrador’s call for an apology as well as the issue’s relevance. Historians also made several points against his stance.

First, the historians stated that Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital, was captured thanks as much to Cortés’s allies among the other indigenous peoples of the time as to the Spaniards themselves. Then they recalled that the Aztecs were no choir children: They resorted to cannibalism, human sacrifice, local wars to subjugate other peoples and violent repression of their enemies. Finally, and most important, they noted that Mexicans have always held an ambivalent position on their own national identity.

During the past decades, children’s textbooks have implied that today’s inhabitants of Mexico are descended from indigenous people and not from the Spanish. The official narrative for more than a century now in Mexico is that it is the mestizo country par excellence. As the nameplate at the National Anthropology Museum and Tlatelolco Square, where the final defeat of the Aztecs occurred, proclaims, “Neither a victory nor a defeat, here took place the painful birth of the mestizo people that today is Mexico.”

There can be no “mestizaje” without both civilizations — the Spanish and the original peoples — taking part in it. However violent their encounter may have been, and acknowledging the brutal nature of the conquest, Mexicans seem to prefer to let sleeping dogs lie. While racism against indigenous minorities in Mexico is undeniable, and the country’s European-origin tiny minority frequently resorts to racist attitudes toward mestizos, an overwhelming majority of the people of Mexico are mestizos today. There are myriad things to fix in Mexico, but discrimination by mestizos against mestizos is not one of them.

Mr. López Obrador said in his letter to King Philip VI that he was not requesting reparations; the conquest cannot be repaired. The apology he demanded was immediately rejected by the government in Madrid, and in all likelihood, the entire affair will fade away. The Mexican president’s ploy was almost certainly demagogic in intent and motivation, invoking an anti-Spanish sentiment that he believes exists in Mexico, though polls suggest otherwise.

Mexico does not need an apology, because it has no conflict with Spain today. But beyond the Mexican populist gesture, and the debates in the United States, Europe and Canada, however, lies a conversation waiting to be held. There are challenges for other peoples and groups that require atonement or forgiveness in order to be addressed. In some cases, it can make an enormous difference, as with African-Americans, race and slavery in the United States. In others, it can disentangle complicated questions of national identity and victimization, as in Mexico. Reparations may be ultimately relevant only in some cases. But history is always relevant.

Originally post by Jorge G. Castañeda at the New York Times

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In Some Churches, Talk of Reparations Draws a Hearing

Drake University ethicist Jennifer Harvey, signs her book "Dear White Christians," during the Race & Faith Dialogue series at Duke University. Photo courtesy of Duke UniversityDURHAM, N.C. (RNS) A white scholar touring churches across the nation is trying to convince Christians that racial reconciliation is not enough — it’s time to start talking about reparations for descendants of slaves.

And among mostly white, mainline Protestants this controversial — some would say unrealistic — notion is getting a hearing.

What divides the races in America, says Drake University ethicist Jennifer Harvey, is not the failure to embrace differences but the failure of white Americans to repent and repair the sins of the past.

“Our differences are not only skin deep,” the 44-year-old scholar told a lecture hall packed with Duke Divinity School students recently. “Our differences are the deepest and most complex manifestations of genealogies of harm done to some and perpetrated by others.”

“All over the Hebrew Bible, this is what it says to do when you steal — you give it back sevenfold,” she said.

Harvey’s 2014 book, “Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation,” has led to speaking engagements at United Church of Christ gatherings, Presbyterian assemblies and college campuses such as Duke and Colgate University in New York.

Over the next year, she’ll address UCC statewide meetings in the Midwest, a Lutheran congregation in Arkansas, social justice conferences in Georgia and New Mexico, college students Michigan and in Pennsylvania, United Methodist and Disciples of Christ seminarians in New Jersey and Oklahoma.

The book, said the Rev. Cameron Trimble, executive director of the Center for Progressive Renewal, “touched a nerve with a lot of religious leaders who care about this particular issue and who want to be prophetic in this moment.

Trimble’s  center has published a video interview and a book-study guide to promote Harvey’s book to its 13,000 affiliated congregations in nine different denominations. 

“Jennifer is inviting a conversation that needs to be had among white people. In all of our mainline traditions, we have deeply institutionalized racism. We have to willingly give up power in order to equal the playing field.”

"Dear White Christians," by Jennifer Harvey. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Harvey

“Dear White Christians,” by Jennifer Harvey. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Harvey

On Saturday (Nov. 7), Harvey discussed the topic of reparations with members of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

More than 20 churches in the diocese have investigated their connections to slavery and produced an online historical tour, “Trail of Souls,” as an act of truth-telling and confession.

“If we’re not reconciled with our history, then we can’t understand what the repair is that’s needed,” said the Rev. Angela Shepherd, the diocesan canon for mission.

Shepherd said it’s too late for the U.S. to consider any kind of direct reimbursement but welcomed Harvey’s stoking the reparations movement in churches. She hopes Harvey’s visit, along with the Baltimore protests in the spring, will help to motivate people in her diocese to support a bill first introduced by Michigan Congressman John Conyers’ in 1989 to create a federal commission to study reparations.

“It would not look like writing checks to individuals,” Shepherd said. “To me, it’s about figuring out a way in our country to bring up the playing field so that it is level.”

Harvey’s push for reparations comes on the heels of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ story in The Atlantic magazine, “The Case for Reparations.”

“White households are worth roughly 20 times as much as black households,” wrote Coates. “Effectively, the black family in America is working without a safety net.”

Coates traced some of the systemic injustices to “redlining,” the denial of home mortgages to black Americans, driving them toward predatory lenders outside the banking system.

Harvey said this history, beginning in slavery and Jim Crow and continuing with poor, underfunded pubic schools for minority children, has stalled well-intentioned efforts at reconciliation since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. This history also explains the energy around the “Black Lives Matter” response to recent acts of police brutality.

“I find myself surrounded by white Americans in a state of shock,” Harvey said. “We should not be shocked or surprised. We have no right to surprise.”

Harvey said she grew up attending mostly black schools in Denver, but it wasn’t until she met black students at Union Theological Seminary that she began to understand how being white gave her societal power that they didn’t have.

“Women and men of color said to me, ‘You need to figure out your whiteness,’” she said.

Harvey said demands for reparations drove white Christians out of the civil rights movement. They held onto King’s vision of the “beloved community” and kept talking about reconciliation but have never made the sort of recompense that’s needed.

With a Ph.D. in Christian social ethics from Union, Harvey has spent her career writing on white supremacy and the contemporary reparations movement.

Harvey was ordained in the liberal American Baptist Churches USA. She supports Conyers’ congressional bill and is trying to kindle the conversation in religious communities.

Harvey resists specifying what form reparations might take, saying that should come from the wounded parties. She points to the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, which calls for cash, land, economic development, scholarships and policy changes ensuring equitable treatment in criminal justice, health care and financial systems.

Harvey also suggests environmental reparations for Native American land taken and exploited; citizenship for underpaid immigrant workers; and political remedies for mass incarceration of black Americans.

“People who’ve been there, who lived through the civil rights movement, can look back and say, ‘Yes, our churches are just as segregated as they were before,’” said Michael DePue, director of Christian education at Chapel in the Pines, a white Presbyterian congregation in Chapel Hill, N.C., where Harvey’s book is being studied. “It’s been 40 or 50 years, and the things that the civil rights movement set out to do, they haven’t come to pass.”

Trimble agreed.

“There’s an awareness among progressive Christians that if you do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always gotten,” she said. “The challenge that remains before us is, will it move beyond talk? What we do very well in church is talk a thing to death.”

YS/AMB END DECONTO

Originally posted by ReligiousNews.com
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After Two White Colorado Women Unearthed The History Of Their Slave-Owning Ancestors, They Turned To Reparations

Audio: Why Two White Colorado Women Turned To Reparations

Rev. Dawn Riley Duval at the CPR studios Dec. 27, 2018.

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

Reparations.

It’s the idea that white Americans should pay a moral debt to black Americans to compensate for slavery, Jim Crow and institutionalized racism.

Reparations has been a concept debated as far back as emancipation. But for some Denver women, it’s not a debate — it’s an obligation.

In late 2018, the Denver-based nonprofit Soul2Soul Sisters received a whopping $200,000 anonymous donation. Founders Rev. Dawn Riley Duval and Rev. Tawana Davis were “stunned,” and tried to learn more.

The mystery benefactor ended up being a graduate student. The donor asked Colorado Public Radio News not to use their name or identifying information in order to keep the focus on Soul2Soul and their racial injustice workshops for people of faith.

She had delved deep into her family tree for a class assignment. What she found was new information that caused her “deep sadness.” She had grown up believing that her family — which settled in Mississippi in the late 18th century — had never owned slaves.

But it turned out that wasn’t true.

She even dug up a cassette recording of her grandmother, and she learned about Alice.

Alice was an enslaved girl given to her “aristocratic” great-great grandmother when she left North Carolina for Mississippi. Even after emancipation, Alice stayed.

“It became true what I had thought was true,” she said. “It may have been just one person, perhaps there were other people, but to know that my family had benefited from the efforts of someone else.”

This revelation came four years after her father passed away, leaving her an inheritance that presented a challenge. She wanted to do some good with it.

The donor approached her teacher to talk out ways to use this money to atone for her family’s role in slavery and to honor Alice. Her teacher mentioned Soul2Soul, which clicked instantly — Revs. Riley Duval and Davis had not only spoken at her school, but they’d also preached at her church, and left an impression.

Rev. Tawana Davis and Rev. Dawn Riley Duval.

Ann Marie Awad/CPR News

She quietly made the donation, and figured that was that. But the reverends reached out, wanting to know more.

“I began to think, ‘What do I call this?’” she said. “A gift is something that’s yours that you give away, and I thought, ‘That’s not the right word.’ Because this, in my mind, wasn’t mine. It was something I had gotten through Alice, or partially through Alice.”

She tried to find a word to pin on it, but one word, even reparations, didn’t seem like enough.

“Reparations came to mind. I’ve heard that, I’m not an expert on it. But reparations to me is big, it’s societal changes, it’s something we need to do as a country,” she said. “So I thought it was more ‘personal reparations,’ and then I said it was ‘personal partial reparations,’ because I don’t know what the right number is, and I don’t know that money is all of it. I don’t think it is.”

Riley Duval said reparations are an important part of healing racial wounds in America.

“There has to be compensation. We understand economic justice and healing justice to be integral to racial justice,” she said. “So, there must be compensation towards conciliation.”

Rev. Riley Duval said the money has been a huge boon to Soul2Soul sisters, allowing them to beef up their staff.

“We have brought on other black women who are helping us to broaden the work of Soul2Soul sisters,” she said. “Soul2Soul Sisters is a fiercely faith-based racial justice organization that is lead by black women towards actualizing black healing and black liberation.”

Lotte Lieb Dula, a retired financial strategist, started down a similar path as Soul2Soul’s anonymous donor at the start of 2018.

Dula’s grandmother passed away in January, and Dula took up the task of sorting through her things. She found a small, old book that was still well-preserved. Dula opened it to find inventories of slaves, hundreds of them, with their individual monetary worths listed.

A page from the book Lotte Lieb Dula found in her grandmother’s belongings that inventoried hundred of slaves her ancestors had owned.

Courtesy of Lotte Lieb Dula

It was then Dula learned that much of her family’s ancestral wealth came from slavery. She did more research, and counted more than 400 enslaved people who were considered the property of her ancestors. She also unearthed an old Smith College yearbook that listed her grandmother as a KKK member.

“I want to skip the guilt and shame part, and I want to do something about this,” Dula recalled thinking at the time.

She joined a national group called Coming to the Table which connects descendents of enslaved people with descendents of slaveholders. Dula also established a scholarship fund for students who wish to study political science or law, restricted only to black applicants. She met a young black woman pursuing a career in politics and Dula agreed to help pay off her college debt, calling it a “direct reparation.”

“Since I used to do financial modeling for my career, of course I’ve modeled what I might be able to give,” Dula laughed. “I think over the course of my lifetime, my goal is to give half a million dollars through whatever means I can, and then at my death, the rest of it will go towards setting up a reparations fund.”

She’s also started building a website – a guide to reparations for white people, by white people.

“This is how I’ll spend the rest of my life,” Dula said. “If only my life could be extended 250 or 400 years, maybe I’d make a small dent.”

BY | ANN.AWAD@CPR.ORG

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National Expungement Week Aims To Provide Reparations From War On Drugs

In 2017, almost 660,000 people were arrested for cannabis-related charges in the U.S., the FBI reported recently. This means that, according to a recent open letter about equity and justice released by Equity First Alliance, even as legalization sweeps the nation, over half a million people are still losing their liberty, voting rights, and access to education, housing and future employment every year.

To make things worse, while many jurisdictions that have already legalized marijuana have promised to clean up the records of those convicted for non-violent cannabis offenses, most of them are still on the hook.

In Los Angeles, California, the largest recreational cannabis market in the world, hundreds of thousands of cannabis-related convictions have yet to be expunged. In Colorado, unfairness has also persisted and prevailed. “Young people of color have been arrested at higher rates for cannabis possession since legalization happened, while arrest rates for young white people have declined,” said Adam Vine of the Equity First Alliance. “Given the racial bias in the criminal justice system, all of these provisions continue to disproportionately harm people of color.”

“In Pennsylvania, prior cannabis convictions prevent people from joining the medical cannabis workforce,” he added. “And, in Illinois, those same convictions have been preventing people from becoming cannabis patients.”

Finally, the 2018 Senate Farm Bill contains language that would legalize hemp at the federal level. However, the new law would still bar people with felony drug convictions from participating in the hemp industry.

A Noble (H)Emprize

According to Sonia Erika of Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council and a spokesperson for Equity First Alliance, who helped to organize N.E.W and its events, “Automatic expungement, post-conviction relief, and other aspects of criminal justice and policing reform must be a part of all cannabis legalization.” The problem, in her view, is raising awareness.

In an attempt to capture the attention of the American public, a coalition of more than 20 organizations working at the intersection of the cannabis industry, racial equity, and reparative justice, have joined local and community groups across the country for the inaugural National Expungement Week (N.E.W.) October 20-27, 2018.

Poster via www.offtherecord.us

N.E.W. will offer free clinics to help to remove, seal, or reclassify eligible convictions from criminal records. N.E.W. events will be held in:

Many of the N.E.W. events will also provide attendees with supportive services including employment resources, voter engagement, and health screenings. The N.E.W. website provides a link to an online toolkit for communities who want to host their own record change events now and in the future.

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After Rahm Emanuel’s Neoliberal Nightmare, the Next Chicago Mayor Must Embrace Reparations

 

This week, Chicagoans celebrated Rahm Emanuel’s announcement that he will not seek another term as mayor. But while Emanuel’s departure is welcome news to many, the next mayor of Chicago will have to come up with an aggressive plan to repair the damage that Emanuel’s financial policies have inflicted on the city’s Black and Latinx communities. Otherwise the devastation that Emanuel’s tenure in office wreaked on Chicago’s communities of color will be with us for decades to come.

Mayor Emanuel systematically monetized pain in communities of color to enrich his Wall Street backers. Since he took office in May 2011, Chicago has paid $346 million in police misconduct settlements and judgments. Emanuel paid a large portion of these costs by taking out bonds, which must be paid back with interest. The interest and fees on these bonds add up to hundreds of millions of dollars, which the city pays before ensuring there is funding for critical public services. When faced with a budget crunch, Emanuel closed mental health clinics, which could have played an important role in preventing people of color from having adverse contact with racist police officers.

In 2017, the mayor borrowed $225 million to pay for future police misconduct settlements and judgments. In other words, Emanuel gave his buddies on Wall Street an advance payment on the lives of Black and Latinx Chicagoans whom he knows his police department will brutalize or murder at some point in the future.

Similarly, the mayor and his appointees on the school board refused to take legal action against the banks that fraudulently sold the city and school district toxic swap deals. Chicago Public Schools paid banks such as Bank of America $36 million a year for these toxic swaps—enough money to reverse the 50 school closings Emanuel oversaw in 2013. But not only did Emanuel refuse to take legal action against the banks, he actually signed multiple agreements waiving Chicago’s right to recoup its losses through legal action.

Emanuel also used the city’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program as a slush fund that drained money from the city’s neighborhoods and schools in communities of color and funneled it into tax subsidies for developers and wealthy corporations in the richer, whiter parts of the city.

All of these financial shenanigans are part of the neoliberal regime that has dominated City Hall for the past few decades under Emanuel and his predecessor, Richard M. Daley. Like Donald Trump, they believed making Chicago great again meant bringing back the white people who had abandoned the city for the suburbs during white flight. In order to lure rich white folks back to the city, they ignored the needs of Chicago’s communities of color, whom they did not deem worthy of the city’s resources. While defending the closure of schools in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods, Emanuel reportedly told Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, “25 percent of these kids are never going to be anything. They are never going to amount to anything. And I’m not going to throw resources at them.”

Daley and Emanuel repealed progressive corporate taxes and funneled tax money from the neighborhoods into downtown. They manufactured budget crises in order to justify the privatization of the city’s infrastructure, the charterization of its school district, and attacks on city and school district employees and their pensions. The perennial budget crises that resulted from these irresponsible decisions were then used to justify risky financial deals that were highly lucrative for Wall Street and ultimately cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

These policies have left deep scars, both in the city’s neighborhoods and in its bank accounts. The next mayor will not be able to wave a magic wand and undo all the damage that decades of neoliberal rule have wrought. The city and school district’s structural budget deficits are all too real. Before the next mayor can even start to think about righting the wrongs, they will need to find money under the couch cushions just to keep the lights on.

There are only two ways forward: more taxes or more financial shenanigans. Under the Daley-Emanuel style of governance, both of these options would have hit communities of color. Tax increases would have been regressive, coming in the forms of red light and speeding cameras that are heavily concentrated in Black and Latinx neighborhoods. Financial shenanigans would have been used to justify more cuts to critical services.

The next mayor needs to flip the script. They need to aggressively raise revenue from the wealthy parts of the city in order to repair the damage to the South and West Sides. For decades, Black and Brown Chicago have been forced to shoulder the costs of Daley and Emanuel’s burning desire to revitalize White Chicago. The next mayor will have to target Black and Latinx communities for investment coming from progressive revenues sources that make rich residents in White Chicago and the major corporations downtown pay their fair share. These wealthy interests have benefited for nearly 30 years from policies that have prioritized the needs of corporations over those of poor communities of color. Chicago’s next mayor needs to make White Chicago pay reparations to Black and Brown Chicago to start to reverse these inequities and right these wrongs.

 

By SAQIB BHATTI

Originally posted on In These Times

 

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London Calls For Reparations

COMMUNITY: Reparations March, London

HUNDREDS of locals of London’s black community took to the streets to mark Emancipation Day and the annual Reparations March.

The march, which begun at Windrush Square, Brixton and culminated at Parliament Square, was awash with colour and pride as many marked Emancipation Day by demanding the government acknowledges the historic and ongoing impact of colonisation and slavery.

This year’s march was themed under “Stop the Maangamizi,” and saw activists from all walks of life come together and demand justice.

Organisers of the march carried a petition, which states: “The blood, sweat and tears of our Ancestors financed the economic expansion of the United Kingdom. The immoral and illegal acts inflicted on Afrikans against their will cannot all be undone.

“However, the perpetrators, their descendants and all other beneficiaries, ought to be compelled to address the harm that has resulted from them. Today the offspring of the stolen Afrikans encounter direct and indirect racial discrimination daily. This results in impoverishment, lack of education, unemployment, imprisonment and ill health.

“Now is the time for the victims of these inhumane atrocities to demand, effect and secure holistic, adequate, comprehensive and intersectional reparations for the wrongs that continue to be inflicted on Afrika, Afrikans on the Continent and in the Diaspora.”

During the late afternoon an evening, an event took place at Windrush Square which included DJs, stalls and plenty more.

See pictures below:

Posted by The Voice

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Reparations Bill to be Presented to Parliament Today (Sri Lanka)

The ‘Office of Reparations’ Bill which is aimed at providing legal provisions for the establishment of the Office for Reparations, to identify war affected people eligible for reparations, has been placed on the Order Paper of Parliament meant for today

Like the Office of Missing Persons, the establishment of this new office is part of the matters envisaged in the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka adopted on October 1, 2015. It is meant to identify aggrieved persons eligible for reparations, and to provide for the provision of individual and collective reparations to such persons; to repeal the Rehabilitation of Persons, Properties and Industries Authority Act, No. 29 of 198, and is to be presented to Parliament today.

Responsibilities of this office will include receiving recommendations with regard to reparations to be made to aggrieved persons from the Office on Missing Persons established under the Office on Missing Persons or such other relevant bodies or institutions, to receive applications for reparations from aggrieved persons or representatives of such aggrieved persons and to verify the authenticity of such application, for the purpose of assessing the eligibility for reparations, to identify the aggrieved persons who are eligible for reparations as well as their level of need, to identify and collate information relating to previous or on-going reparation programmes carried out by the State, including any expenditure on similar reparation programmes through a centralized database, and to make rules with regard to ensuring the effective functioning of the Office for Reparations.

The Office for Reparations, if established, will consist of five members appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council. The Constitutional Council shall recommend three names out of the members of the Office for Reparations to be appointed as the Chairperson of the Office for Reparations. One of the members recommended shall be appointed by the President as the Chairperson of the Office for Reparations. A member could serve for a period of three years.

However, the members of this office will be deemed to be public servants for the purpose of the Bill as per the Penal Code and the Bribery Act and the Evidence Ordinance. (Yohan Perera)

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Bart Everson: Toward A Local Platform For Reparations

The anniversary of the New Orleans Massacre of 1866 is coming up later this month, on July 30th. We should not forget this event, essentially a race riot, in which 238 people were killed, the vast majority of whom were Black war veterans who had fought for the Union — but the war had ended a year earlier.

The massacre was a crucial factor which led to the passage of the Reconstruction Acts. For a brief moment, a century and a half ago, it seemed as if our nation was poised to begin the long and difficult process of healing from the wounds which slavery inflicted on the body politic. Instead, that process was sabotaged and repressed in relatively short order. Call it the Deconstruction of Reconstruction.

Is there a city in the United States where we know this better? The legacy of slavery looms large here, though official acknowledgements of this history are scanty. The Crescent City was also home to one of the largest populations of free people of color. It stands to reason that people in New Orleans should be at the forefront of the newly re-invigorated movement toward making reparations for slavery.

And so we are.

On July 9th, there was a meeting on the prospect of a local platform for such reparations. It was sponsored by the Green Party of New Orleans. (Note: I serve as chair of this group.) All our meetings at the Mid-City Library are free and open to the public.

Local artist, activist and entrepreneur Anika Ofori drew on her experience working with the Green Party of the United States to give an informal presentation which informed and framed our discussion.

Anika began with a brief historical overview, outlining the establishment of the Freedmen’s Bureau and the Reconstruction Acts, as well as the sabotage of Reconstruction through acts of violence.

Current efforts on to establish reparations for slavery stem from the middle of the 20th century, picking up momentum in the 1990s, slowed temporarily by the political shifts after the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Anika recounted the work of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) and National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) including their preliminary 10-Point Plan which is modeled after a similar plan endorsed by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It’s a holistic program that would finally set our nation on the road to healing. A wealth of detailed information can be found via the Reparations Resources Center, maintained by the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, at https://ibw21.org/reparations-resource-center/

House Resolution 40, officially titled the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act,” was introduced to Congress in January of 2017 by John Conyers, Jr. He introduced the bill repeatedly over almost three decades. Since he resigned in December, the future of the bill is unclear.

Nevertheless, the Green Party of the United States has endorsed the idea of reparations, both in general principle as part of the Green Party platform, as well as more specifically endorsing H.R. 40.

We concluded our meeting with a discussion of how we might promote the reparations issue locally, here in New Orleans, which after all was once the preeminent hub of the slave trade on this continent.

Our conversation brought to light a series of questions. For example: How do we incorporate support for reparations in our local platform, currently under development? We anticipate some points from the NAARC ten-point plan will be included in other parts of our platform. Do we highlight these connections or address reparations separately? How do we advocate for reparations to a greater public that might not be educated on the issue and resistant to it? Are there particular policies and demands in the call for reparations that our chapter is in the best position to pursue locally?

The discussion of reparations also raised questions about the priorities and identity of the Green Party.  Despite the official support for reparations in the Green Party platform, there were concerns that the Green Party as a whole isn’t racially inclusive and sufficiently aware of race issues. There were also concerns that prioritizing reparations and racial justice might alienate members of the party who are most interested in economic and/or climate matters. Others at the meeting suggested that the pursuit of economic, racial, and climate justice were not mutually exclusive and had to be pursued simultaneously because they are all related and interconnected.

 

Thanks to Neil Ranu, Green Party of New Orleans secretary, for preparing notes on the meeting, which were used extensively for this article.

Original post by midcitymessenger.com

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The Movement For Black Lives Calls For Reparations

We demand reparations for past and continuing harms. The government, responsible corporations and other institutions that have profited off of the harm they have inflicted on Black people — from colonialism to slavery through food and housing redlining, mass incarceration, and surveillance — must repair the harm done. This includes:

  1. Reparations for the systemic denial of access to high quality educational opportunities in the form of full and free access for all Black people (including undocumented and currently and formerly incarcerated people) to lifetime education including: free access and open admissions to public community colleges and universities, technical education (technology, trade and agricultural), educational support programs, retroactive forgiveness of student loans, and support for lifetime learning programs.
  2. Reparations for the continued divestment from, discrimination toward and exploitation of our communities in the form of a guaranteed minimum livable income for all Black people, with clearly articulated corporate regulations.
  3. Reparations for the wealth extracted from our communities through environmental racism, slavery, food apartheid, housing discrimination and racialized capitalism in the form of corporate and government reparations focused on healing ongoing physical and mental trauma, and ensuring our access and control of food sources, housing and land.
  4. Reparations for the cultural and educational exploitation, erasure, and extraction of our communities in the form of mandated public school curriculums that critically examine the political, economic, and social impacts of colonialism and slavery, and funding to support, build, preserve, and restore cultural assets and sacred sites to ensure the recognition and honoring of our collective struggles and triumphs.
  5. Legislation at the federal and state level that requires the United States to acknowledge the lasting impacts of slavery, establish and execute a plan to address those impacts. This includes the immediate passage of H.R.40, the “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act” or subsequent versions which call for reparations remedies.

Reparations for the Systemic Denial of Access to High Quality Educational Opportunities In the Form of Full and Free Access for All Black People (Including Undocumented, Currently, and Formerly Incarcerated People) to Lifetime Education Including: Free Access and Open Admissions to All Public Universities and Colleges, Technical Education (Technology, Trade, and Agricultural), Educational Support Programs, Retroactive Forgiveness of Student Loans, and Support for Lifetime Learning Programs

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