RACIAL JUSTICE RISING’S (RJR’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.
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 (in addition to the above)
– 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.)
LOGISTICS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
– 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. Exploratory Member: Everyone is welcome to join a meeting and try it out repeatedly, (after reading this “RJR Reparations Committee Description.”) No commitment required.
2. Committee 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.
HOW TO JOIN / MORE INFO:
Contact Allen at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RESPONSIBILITIES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS
1. To keep the project sustainable, we ask that Committee 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)
2. We ask Committee Members to attend meetings at least once a month and
to notify someone in the Committee if you can’t join a meeting. If there are
3 months missed in a row, without notification, Committee Membership is
SUGGESTED REPARATIONS ACTIVITIES regarding the AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY (NON-MONETARY)
Building 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.
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. Write a 100-word essay or submit artwork explaining why you support the need for reparations, to add to our Reparations Comments.
4. Read “Laying the Foundation For Local Reparations: A Guide for Providing National Symmetry for Local Reparation Efforts” by Kamm Howard of N’COBRA
5. Write articles in the newspaper and social media in support of these goals.
SUGGESTED REPARATIONS ACTIVITIES 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.
– Checks can be made out to: N’COBRA
Mail to: P.O. Box 90605, Washington DC 20090
2. The Grassroots Reparations Campaign
This Campaign is 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;
Donate 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.
5500 North St. Louis Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625-4699
SUGGESTED REPARATIVE ACTIONS regarding the INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY (NON-MONETARY)
1. “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.”
2. Call your Massachusetts Legislators and ask them to co-sponsor and support these 5 bills:
To learn more about the 2021-2022 Indigenous Legislative Agenda which includes these 5 priorities: (http://maindigenousagenda.org/).
3. 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)
Support 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.” https://www.ohketeau.org/living-presence-series
Note: These are suggested guidelines for participation. If anyone has questions or concerns, please feel free to discuss with the Reparations Committee.
Definition of Reparations from the Movement for Black Lives “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
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.”
The Reparations Now Tool Kit provides specific examples of how these 5
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 or
memorial 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;
– 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;
– Changes to laws, institutions, and systems aimed at ensuring that harm
will not happen again.”
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.
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.)
-Video describing the basis for the need for Reparations: Shawn Rochester’s talk, “The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America”.
– Book: From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the
Twenty-First Century by William A. Darity Jr., Andrea Kirsten Mullen
– Webinar: From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the
Twenty-First Century (June 19, 2020)
– Historical Timeline Of Reparations Payments Made From 1866 Through
2018 By U.S. Government, States, Cities, Religious And Educational
Institutions, By Dr. Allen J. Davis, Ed.D.
– Book: My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to
Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
(Original version of this Reparations Committee Description: June 2020; updated July, Aug 2020, Jan, June 2021)
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