At BlackRoots Alliance, we're dedicated to the liberation of all Black people. The five areas we organize around are safety, economic security, health and wholeness, education justice, and democracy engagement. We're currently bringing more awareness to the implementation of reparations for Black people.
Reparations are defined as the making of amends for a wrong that one has done; by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged, and are given to horrifically oppressed groups of people by their oppressive nations, states, institutions, and/or complicit corporations. Occurring after the harm has been done, these payments are intended to serve as an apology and often come alongside one. They should also begin to repair the damage caused and present a plan to address structural inequities.
Conversations about reparations have been happening since the end of slavery. There must be multiple paths to reparations because Black people are not all the same. Our partner Equity and Transformation (EAT), are working on reparations for the War on Drugs. We encourage all Black people to imagine what reparations for slavery, and the systems predicated upon slavery, might look like for their communities.
Black Americans, haven't received reparations for any of the continued state-enabled Black oppression, including Jim Crow, redlining/residential segregation, voter suppression, environmental racism, and mass incarceration. A significant body of research has provided frameworks and proposals for federal reparations. HR-40, the 20-year-old bill designed to create a federal study and task force to examine what reparations would look contemporarily, hasn't been brought to the floor for an official vote. Though history was made in 2021 when this bill made it past a subcommittee of the House of Representatives.
BlackRoots Alliance plans to host "Reparations Community Conversations" all over Chicago. These are opportunities for new relationships to form and discussions to be had about individual and collective liberation through the lens of reparations for chattel slavery and its legacies of systemic anti-Blackness. The goal of these events is to answer the question "What do reparations mean for Black people". We share our research and political framework on reparations followed by a panel then "table talks" where participants share their visions for reparations and create intimate space with one another to expand public discourse on this important systemic reform. If you have any additional questions or want more information please connect with our Director of Organizing, Lorne Runnels.