Since 1989 Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, dean of the Congressional Black Caucus has introduced H.R. 40, the Reparations Study bill. The bill is meant to compel the United States to undertake a serious study of the impact of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the economic and political consequences for African-Americans, and to determine the appropriate reparatory remedies that should be made available to the descendants of enslaved Africans.
The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW), led by Dr. Ron Daniels, will join forces with the Caribbean Commission (CARICOM) and host CARICOM’s Reparations Commission’s next meeting April 9-12 in New York City. The CARICOM Commission is chaired by Sir Hillary Beckles, Vice Chancellor Designate of the University of the West Indies. To sustain a focus on reparations in the United States, a National African-American Reparations Commission (NAARC), will be established and dedicated to the memory of Queen Mother Audley Moore, a mentor to generations of reparations advocates and a leading proponent of reparations for African-Americans.
Joining IBW and CARCOM for the Reparations Summit will be representatives from reparations movements in Central and South America, Canada and Europe. Dr. Ron Daniels, president of IBW, stated, “The first step will be to devise an Interim Program that NAARC will take to the people in a series of town hall meetings to receive input before adopting the final program. The process of engaging people of African descent across the country, including young people, is incredibly important to strengthening the Reparations movement.” Daniels also noted that the new commission will develop a reparations program similar to the Ten Point Program adopted by the CARICOM Commission.
The program for the Summit will include formal business sessions, a dialogue between leaders of the Caribbean Diaspora in the United States and the CARICOM commission, meetings between NAARC and the Caribbean Commission, rallies in Harlem and Brooklyn, and a tribute to Congressman Conyers. At the most recent Reparations Braintrust at the 2014 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, Sir Hillary Beckles called upon participants to declare a ‘Conyers Decade of Reparatory Justice.’ In addition, there will special recognition of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) which has worked for decades to call attention to the need for reparations for African-Americans.
Joining Dr. Daniels and Sir Beckles is a stellar roster of activists and academicians. Among them will be Dr. Conrad Worrill, Director of the Carruthers Center for Inner-City Studies at Northeastern University; Dr. Ray Winbush, Director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University; Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; Professor Charles Ogletree, Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard University; Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor Emeritus at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ; Attorney Roger Wareham of the December 12th Movement; former Detroit City Council member John Watson; Attorney Nkechi Taifa, a criminal justice reform and reparations activist; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, political economist and President Emeritus of Bennett College for Women. Dr. Malveaux and N’COBRA have agreed to be charter members of the National African American Reparations Commission, a body that will ultimately have fifteen members. The NAARC will have at its disposal the Journal of Africa American History, under the leadership of Dr. V.P. Franklin.
Sir Hillary Beckles expressed his excitement over the upcoming meeting and the plans for a Reparations Commission in the United States. “I am extremely excited that our sisters and brothers in the U.S. are moving forward with the creation of a Reparations Commission. We are reaching out to Reparations activists throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America to encourage them to attend the Reparations Summit in the United States. It has the potential to be a milestone event.”
The Reparations Summit will kick-off on Thursday April 9 at the historic Mother Zion AME Zion Church in Harlem, New York, the mother church of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Activities move to York College in Jamaica Queens on Friday April 10 and Saturday April 11. Visit the website of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century for further information: http://ibw21.org.