A few days before this year’s Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. Annual Legislative Conference (CBCINC-ALC), I received a call to ask my opinion as to whether the Reparations Issues Forum should be on the agenda. The Forum has been standard fare every year as a way of promoting HR-40, the Reparation’s Study bill, championed by Congressman John Conyers, Jr., and as a vehicle to discuss strategies for the coming year. The question was understandable given the relatively moribund state of the Reparations movement in the U.S.; a reality that is the consequence of the passing/transition of some of the key leaders of the movement, the decline of reparations advocacy organizations and the difficulty of gaining traction on the issue with the first African American President in the White House.
However, none of these factors negate the validity and relevance of the issue. Therefore, I answered in the affirmative but strongly suggested that the Forum highlight events or developments that might provide a new spark to the U.S. Reparations Movement.
In the past State Senator Bill Owen’s proposal that the Massachusetts legislature pay reparations to African Americans in that state; Deadria Farmer-Paellmann’s legal campaign against U.S. corporations that benefitted from slavery; the National Black United Front’s “We Charge Genocide” Petition Campaign; December 12th Movement’s Millions.