Eyewitness Report from Reparations 2022
This past weekend, a contingency from Evanston represented at the Reparations 2022 Gathering at Howard University Law School.
Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors, senior pastor, Second Baptist Evanston and President, Evanston/North Shore Branch NAACP, attended the conference, which focused on a variety of key issues around local and national reparations.
Here's his report from the weekend:
"Over 50 people arrived from around the country to share their stories about local reparations.
Areas covered included: Basic Human Rights; Community Reparations; Restore Home and Family; Reparations; Epigenetic Repair; Trauma Informed Reparative Care; Health Care; Redress the Racial Wealth Gap; Cash Payment for Reparations; Reparations as Housing Grants; Income Generating Repairs; Land Based Reparations; Public Safety and Peace Building; Environmental Justice; Self-Determination; Equal Access to Education; Decolonize the Academy; End Policing in Schools; Mass Liberation and more.
I share this so that we may begin to see the largesse of reparations occurring, growing and widening in our nation.
From San Francisco to Amherst, from Boston to Tulsa, from Washington DC to Evanston, from Missouri to Georgia, from New Orleans to New York City not a single group said, "No, you got it wrong. This is what reparations is!"
Every group agreed that location and the organic energy of the people determines addressing the greatest needs.
Please know this, Black, white, Latinx, Filipino, European, Jewish, and others all gathered together on the historic grounds of Howard, in the historic building of the Law School. Easily, some of the most brilliant people on earth, whose motivation is to repair damage done to Black people because of the egregious reality of racism, were in the number.
I will never forget Billi Wilkerson, Managing Director of Howard's Law School, Karen Wilson Ama' Echefu, brilliant Fulbright Scholar and writer, Justin Hansford, Executive Director and Law Professor of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard, Sheryl Evans, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, Ruben Carranza, Director of Reparative Justice for the International Center for Transitional Justice, and the incredible students at the Law School and undergraduates at Howard.
Oh and we had a strong Evanston delegation led by our own Robin Rue Simmons.
On Friday evening we had a private tour of the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Starting at the lowest level and 1619, we became immersed in our story, slowly working our way up steep ramps. We moved from West Africa, to slave ships, to auction blocks, to slave plantations....trauma was in every step.
We then moved from the Civil War to Reconstruction, to the Ku Klux Klan to lynchings, to towns burned down by racists, to separate but equal, to systemic and structural racism embedded in every sector of the United States.
Then we moved to the Civil Right Movement, to redlining, to voter suppression, to Barak Obama becoming President of the United States.
Finally, we moved to the top of the Museum. Exhausted both physically and mentally, we went to the reception room and in the darkened skies of Washington, DC we saw the Congress Building, the Washington and Jefferson Monuments and the epicenter of the nation.
We sat down, fellowshipped, had a wonderful dinner, marveling at what had just transpired. And it did not go unnoticed by anyone, that our goal of reparations was now firmly planted in the very soil of the Declaration of Independence, the "I Have a Dream Speech," the Million Man March, and the unwavering conviction that nothing can stop us.
Reparations is coming.
Reparations is here."
Nabors attended the conference with former 5th ward City Councilmember Robin Rue Simmons who pushed Evanston's reparations resolution through in 2019 and recently founded FirstRepair, a nonprofit located in Evanston that works to bring local reparations to cities and states across the country. Rue Simmons presented at the conference.
Peter Braithwaite, 2nd ward Councilmember and chair of the Reparations Committee was also there, along with Reparation Committee member Claire McFarlane, community activist Ndona Nyomo, and City staff member Tasheik Kerr. Dino Robinson, founder, Shorefront Legacy Center joined via livestream.