Reparations Movements Meet To Make International Connections
Dignitaries from three continents gathered in New York City recently to sharpen their strategies for confronting some of the world’s most powerful nations over a subject that sizeable numbers of citizens support in the nearly two-dozen nations represented: reparations for the legacy of a history of slavery, colonialism and government-sanctioned segregation.
Those dignitaries, whose number included ambassadors and legislators, along with luminary activists and legal experts, participated in the three-day International Reparations Summit convened by the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, a research, policy and advocacy organization based in the United States.
Dr. Ron Daniels, President of the Institute, stated, “We are delighted that the Institute of the Black World can be a clearinghouse for ideas and strategies on how to pursue reparations for historical crimes and injustices against people of African descent in the U.S. and across the Americas.”
An action in 2013 reenergized reparations activities already operative in the U.S., throughout the Americas, in Africa and in Europe. That is when CARICOM, the organization of Caribbean nations, announced its plans to also mount actions against former European colonial countries for native the slave trade, colonialism and genocide against indigenous peoples. That was the first time that a collection of countries had agreed on taking coordinated action for reparations.
“We have a just cause. And we have a duty to right the wrongs done during the slave trade, slavery and colonialism,” CARICOM representative Dr. Douglas Slater said during the opening session of the Summit. “Today, racism continues to impede development of African peoples all over the world.”
Members of the recently established National African American Reparations Commission participated in the Summit. That African American Commission is composed of 15 people who are respected academic, community, labor, legal and religious leaders. Commission members will expand existing strategies within the U.S. and coordinate with CARICOM and the European Reparations Commission on activities.
The issue of reparations in the United States was described as payment for exploitations and exclusions “during slavery and also during ‘Jim Crow’ –- the century of legalized segregation after the Civil War,” as Kamm Howard explained during a Summit-related interview. Howard is an official with N’COBRA, The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparation in America.