The Reparations Committee of the Mystic Valley Area Branch of the NAACP was established in September 2020 with a focus on reparations education, advocacy, and legislation at the federal level. This committee’s inception followed its inaugural educational program — a virtual book event with William “Sandy” Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen, authors of From Here to Equality, Reparations for Black Americans In the Twenty-First Century.
Thus far, our efforts have focused primarily on reparations legislation at the local, state, and national level. While we intend to remain active in this area, we are also turning our attention to the local through researching the history of slavery, Jim Crow, and continuing forms of racial exclusion in the towns of the Mystic Valley NAACP area. Looking in our own back yards can reveal the direct line linking slavery to the gross racial inequities that exist today. Our goal is to use our research as the basis for educational events in our communities. At the same time, we are keeping informed and active on reparations legislation at the local, state and national level, and reaching out to partner with other organizations that are actively engaged in the fight for reparations.
The Reparations Committee meets the 2nd Saturday of every month from 12pm - 1pm. Interested in finding out more or joining the committee, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In early 2021, the committee began its unique congressional educational project by providing every member of our new 117th U.S. Congress with a copy of the book, From Here to Equality, Reparations for Black Americans In the Twenty-First Century. More information is shared below regarding the project. In Spring 2021, the committee called more than 400 members of Congress, including every member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, during the lead up to their historic markup of H.R. 401. The committee continues to engage legislators through Chapter Conversations. In June 2021, the committee had a Chapter Conversation with Assistant Speaker, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, who serves the Fifth District of Massachusetts, on A Political History of America's Black Reparations Movement.
The committee is actively engaged in reparations conversations in Massachusetts, New England, and across the country. The reparations committee recently submitted a resolution proposal wherein the NAACP demands the 117th U.S. Congress and President Joe Biden utilize all available procedural options to immediately establish a commission to study and recommend a comprehensive program of compensatory reparations policies for Black American descendants of persons enslaved in the U.S. for harms originating in chattel slavery and ongoing through multifaceted institutional and structural forms of anti-Black racism and discrimination.
Reparations: Engaging & Educating our Legislators
In accordance with the educational program we initiated in June 2020, the NAACP Mystic Valley Area Branch is purchased and sent copies of From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty First Century to each and every member of the 117th U.S. Congress.
Our aim was to engage and educate legislators on the history of the reparations movement and its goal of repairing the damage wrought by centuries of government-sanctioned chattel slavery, segregation, domestic terrorism, mass incarceration, and systemic racism. One legacy of this systemic exclusion is the massive racial wealth gap; in Boston, for example, household median net worth for U.S. born Black Americans is $8; for whites it is $247,500. It is long past time to move forward to repair the damage that has led us to this place.
On February 17, 2021, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a hearing on HR 40: Exploring the Path to Reparative Justice in America.
HR 40 is legislation that would establish a commission to study reparations proposals for African Americans. All of our Massachusetts Congressional Representatives are co-sponsors of this legislation. Please contact them to indicate your support for their taking a position on this important piece of legislation.