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This is a committee that ran from 2020 until 2023. It was a virtual group seeking to learn more about the topic and take actions to further that goal. If you are interested in this topic, you can reach out to our Contact Us page.

Racial Justice Rising’s Mission

  • To help build the movement for racial justice by contributing to a deeper understanding of systemic racism and racial justice.
  • To engage in restorative activities that help to heal the racial divide and bring justice for people targeted by racism.

Racial Justice Rising’s Goals

Our activities are designed to:

  • Bring people of all backgrounds and experience into the movement for racial justice. Our white members especially reach out to others of European descent.
  • Help build public support for reparations and restorative justice for descendants and survivors of slavery, the genocide of indigenous peoples, and other legacies and present-day crimes caused by racial oppression.
  • Address and redress conditions of racial injustice in our own communities.

While much of our work is focused in our local area, we reach out to and are connected with the broader movements in our region and the nation.

Mission & Goals Specific to the Reparations Committee

  • Support people of color-led organizations, especially the African American and Indigenous Reparations Leaders.
  • Promote reparations efforts at all levels, when possible: individual, local, regional, state, national, world-wide.
  • Collaborate with other organizations already doing the work, when possible.
  • For those of European descent: support each other in our own individual self-defined reparations efforts. (Reparations efforts are not just monetary.)

Watch our Reparations Teach In!

February 21, 2022 – viewing time 1 hour 36 minute

Logistics and Recommendations

MEETINGS & MEMBERSHIP
  • We meet twice a month for 1½ hours, via Zoom. The meetings are from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. EST on the first and third Wednesday each month.
  • We strongly recommend everyone takes the Undoing Racism training by the People’s Institute within a year of joining this group.
BE THE CHANGE
    • We encourage accountability by providing an environment where undoing our own internalized racism or white supremacy training is nurtured and celebrated.
    • We have an agreed upon method to handle disagreements that prioritizes empathy, listening and relationship-building.
TWO TIER MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS
    1. Community Member: Everyone is welcome to join a meeting and try it out repeatedly, (after reading this “RJR Reparations Committee Description.”)  No commitment required.
    2. Core Member: For those who want to learn more about reparations and can commit to engaging in reparative actions (self-defined) and help with running the meetings and other tasks. There is a couple of months trial period to see if membership at this level feels like a good match. (We limit our Core Member size to 8 members due to the fact we make decisions based on consensus.)

HOW TO JOIN / MORE INFO:
If you are interested in this topic, you can reach out to our Contact Us page.

Committee Actions & Responsibilities

RESPONSIBILITIES OF CORE MEMBERS
  • To keep the project sustainable, we ask that Core Members take turns participating in the tasks needed to run the monthly meeting (i.e., facilitating, note-taking, agenda-making for upcoming meeting, and other tasks, as needed).
  • We ask Core Members to attend meetings at least once a month and to notify another Core Member if you can’t join a meeting.
SUGGESTED REPARATIVE ACTIONS regarding the AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY (NON-MONETARY)
Build & Show Public Support for Reparations
    1. Call U.S. Senators and Representatives asking them to co-sponsor S 40 and HR 40 bills in U.S. Congress; call friends and family in other states to call their legislators to do the same.
      Call U.S. President Biden to ask him to create an Executive Order for a HR 40 commission to study and make proposals for remedies for reparations. Call 1-202-456-1111 (comment line)
    2. Consider signing RJR’s apology & reparations commitment for the enslavement and genocide of the indigenous population and people of African descent in the U.S.
    3. Support Black-led organization in your area by attending their activities and volunteering with the aim to create reparative relationships.
    4. Write a 100-word essay explaining why you support the need for reparations, to add to our Reparations Comments
    5. Read “Laying the Foundation For Local Reparations: A Guide for Providing National Symmetry for Local Reparation Efforts” by Kamm Howard of N’COBRA5. Write articles in the newspaper and social media in support of these goals.
SUGGESTED REPARATIVE ACTIONS regarding the AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY (MONETARY)
Financially support these Reparations Organizations:

1. N’COBRA (National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America)

  • Donate via paypal and their donate button on their website, or
  • Checks can be made out to: N’COBRA  and mail to: P.O. Box 90605, Washington DC 200902.

2. The Grassroots Reparations Campaign (a program of the Truth Telling Project)

“Our mission is to encourage Americans to take responsibility for repairing the continued damages caused by slavery and its legacy by integrating Grassroots Reparations into their everyday lives.”

–David Ragland, PhD., Director of Grassroots Reparations; Co-Founder, Truth Telling Project of Ferguson. grassrootsreparations@gmail.com
  • Donate online through the Truth Telling Project to Grassroots Reparations Campaign, or
  • Write a check to Northeastern Illinois University, the fiscal sponsor of the Truth Telling Project, with “Truth telling project/reparations campaign” in the note line and mail to: 5500 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625-4699
SUGGESTED REPARATIVE ACTIONS regarding the INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY (NON-MONETARY)
  • “Recognize and make changes to the dominant narrative that glorifies the colonization and genocide of indigenous people.  Be mindful that problematic terms like: “Pioneer Valley” are a reminder of the legacy of dispossession, removal and erasure.”
  • Call your Massachusetts Legislators and ask them to co-sponsor and support these 5 bills:
  1. Remove racist mascots from public schools
  2. Change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day
  3. Protect Native American Heritage
  4. Create appropriate educational curriculum in our schools about the tribes in Massachusetts
  5. Create a permanent commission to ensure the education of native youth in the state

To learn more about the 2023-2024 Indigenous Legislative Agenda which includes these 5 priorities visit the MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda.                                                                                                                 

  • Return the land. Learn about & participate in the Land Back movement. (Contact the agencies listed below for more information.)
SUGGESTED REPARATIVE ACTIONS regarding the INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY (MONETARY)
Financially S
upport indigenous-led organizations, for example:

Source: March 21, 2021 webinar:The Living Presence of Our History – Part III: Healing and Reparations Through The Land Back Movement: A Conversation on Indigenous Land Tenure and Access.”

Note: These are suggested guidelines for participation. If anyone has questions or concerns, please feel free to discuss with the Reparations Committee.

Related Documents

DEFINITION OF REPARATIONS FROM THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES

From the Reparations Now Tool Kit (p. 26):

“The United Nations outlines five conditions that must be met for full reparations:

1. Cessation, assurances and guarantees of non-repetition: Under
international law, a state responsible for wrongfully injuring a people “is
under obligation to a.) “Cease the act if it is continuing, and b.) Offer
appropriate assurances and guarantees of non-repetition…. “

2. Restitution and Repatriation: Restitution means to “re-establish the
situation which existed before the wrongful act was committed.” Changes
traced to the wrongful act are reversed through restoration of freedom,
recognition of humanity, identity, culture, repatriation, livelihood,
citizenship, legal standing and wealth to the extent they can be, and if they
cannot, restitution is completed by compensation.

3. Compensation: The injuring state, institution or individual is obligated to
compensate for the damage, if the damage is not made good by
restitution. Compensation is required for “any financially accessible
damage suffered. . .” to the extent “appropriate and proportional to the
gravity.”

4. Satisfaction: Satisfaction is part of full reparations under international
law for moral damage, such as “emotional injury, mental suffering, and
injury to reputation.” In some instances where cessation, restitution and
compensation do not bring full repair, satisfaction is also needed. Apology
falls under the reparative category of satisfaction.

5. Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation shall be provided to include legal, medical,
psychological and other care and services.”

EXAMPLES FROM THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES – HOW CONDITIONS FOR REPARATIONS COULD MANIFEST

The Movement for Black Lives Reparations Now Tool Kit (p.32) provides specific examples of how the 5 above conditions could manifest:

How do I know it’s reparations and not something else?

“It is reparations if it includes:

  • An official acknowledgement and apology for harm, public education ormemorial about the harm; and
  • Compensation to a specific, defined group of individuals harmed by a violation, including descendants, as well as family and community members of individuals targeted for harm who were adversely affected; and
  • Action to restore individuals harmed to the position they were in before the initial harm occurred; and
  • Action to stop the systems, institutions, and practices causing the harm; and
  • Changes to laws, institutions, and systems aimed at ensuring that harm will not happen again.”
FEDERAL LEGISLATION

H. R. 40
To address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate
remedies, and for other purposes.

S. 40
117th Congress (2021-2022)     This bill establishes the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans. The commission shall examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. Among other requirements, the commission shall examine (1) the role of federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, (2) forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) lingering negative effects of slavery on living African-Americans and society.

More Reparations-Related Resources (books, webinars, timelines, etc.)

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