Hearing on reparations in Atlanta

Atlanta, Ga will be at the center of the growing national discourse and debate about the issue of reparations for African Americans for slavery and generations of discriminatory policies and practices post-emancipation on June 10-11, according the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW).

The New York-based IBW, a leading Black organization, said the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC), which was established in 2015, will be in Atlanta to conduct a Community Hearing to solicit input on its Preliminary 10 Point Reparations Program.

IBW said the Commission will also receive input on HR-40, the Reparations Study Bill, which Congressman John Conyers, (D) of Detroit, has introduced every year since 1989.

Conyers, who is the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee and dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, will travel to Atlanta to consult with NAARC on the Reparations Program and plans to introduce a revised version of HR-40 that will focus on remedies for slavery and discriminatory practices and policies, IBW said.

It said the hearing will be convened in conjunction with the Morehouse School of Religion, Saturday, June 11, 12:00 noon at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), 700 Martin Luther King Ave.

The proceedings will feature a keynote address by Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor / president of the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, and chairman of the CARICOM [Caribbean Community] Reparations Commission.

A Clergy / Faith Leaders Roundtable on engaging people of faith in the reparations movement; panel of scholars and activists posing inquiries about the Commission’s 10-Point Program; and questions / comments / input from the public will be part of the proceedings, IBW said.

It said the Atlanta Hearing is the first in a series of area/regional events of its kind that will be convened by NAARC over the next 12 months.

Houston, Los Angeles and Chicago have been identified as potential sites for future hearings.

IBW said the input/recommendations from the hearings will be incorporated into a Final Reparations Program that will be used as the framework for negotiations with the federal government, state and local governments, private corporations and institutions.

The hearing at ITC will be preceded by a Benefit Reception, Friday, June 10, 7 pm at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, 100 Ivan Allen Blvd., where the actor, humanitarian and activist Danny Glover will be the special guest.

IBW said the Atlanta Reception and Hearing come at a time when there is a resurgence of interest in the issue.

One of the most dramatic recent developments was the unanimous decision by the 15 nations of CARICOM demanding reparations from the former European colonialists for native genocide and African enslavement.

“When the heads of state of nations took such a courageous position, reparations activists in the U.S. and around the world took notice,” said Dr. Ron Daniels, IBW president. IBW serves as the administrator and convener of NAARC.

“It provided renewed impetus to the movement,” Daniels said.

As a result of the decision, a CARICOM Reparations Commission was formed and a 10-Point Program for Reparatory Justice was adopted, IBW noted.

Sir Hilary Beckles was selected to chair the CARICOM Commission.

IBW said the National African American Reparations Commission was inspired by and is viewed as a parallel structure to the CARICOM Commission.

“Given recent developments we believe that reparations for African Americans is an idea whose time has come,” Dr. Daniels said. “The Community Hearing in Atlanta has the potential to be truly historic in terms of building momentum to finally achieve repair for the debilitating damages inflicted on African Americans by centuries of enslavement and generations of discriminatory policies.”

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