A private, non-partisan, non-sectarian, voluntary program of reparations for slavery, consisting of voluntary donations to established charities benefiting African Americans, and an online registry of participation, apology, and personal statements.
A Personal Statement
I am not personally responsible for slavery. But I am an American citizen and a recipient of “the blessings of liberty” bequeathed to part of our posterity, but denied, even by the author of those words, to other citizens and their posterity.
The stain on our national character has not been scrubbed away. The wound has not healed. The dream is still not fully realized.
To right the wrongs of history is impossible. There can be no full accounting of all the injustices people have done to each other, and it is futile to try and balance the books of grievances.
The individual actors in the crime of slavery are long deceased. Today an American might claim descent from a victim, an abolitionist, a perpetrator, an immigrant who arrived after the fact, or some combination of them all.
My shame and guilt is not personal, it is collective, because I choose to own my role as a beneficiary of the crime and an heir to the guilt.
I am not making this claim for anyone else. I am not telling anyone else what to do. I am making my own apology, making my own amends, and inviting others to participate if they’d like to.
I am choosing to pay reparations. Will you join me?
How big should a reparations payment be?
It’s impossible to answer precisely. What is the value of a life? Of 12 million lives? What is the cost of lost generations? What price continues to be paid in lost opportunity and marginalized human potential?
I feel like the number should be enough to matter. My payment should feel like an intentional sacrifice; it should be significant, not a casual donation pulled from my wallet.
But that’s both not enough, and maybe too much for some people.
Who gets the money?
The victims of slavery. To be a reparation for slavery, it should go into the hands of descendants of slaves, and those who still bear the consequences of slavery. To be a reparation, it should come free of strings and free of judgment about the recipients.
I want to make restitution to victims; it is not my place to judge the victims or rank their needs.
I want my payment to make a difference, and not be lost to fraud or squandered purposelessly. So most of my payment is going to established, reputable organizations administered by, and serving, African Americans.
- United Negro College Fund
- Black Girls Code
- A Better Chance
- View All
Who supports this?
View the list of advocates and become one yourself.
How to Participate
Make a payment, as reparations, through an established charity that specifically serves descendants of slaves and add yourself to the registry.
You’ll be asked how much you are pledging and how much you have already given; this information will not be made public and will be used only to provide statistics on participation.
You may share as little or as much personal information as you’d like. You can choose to be listed by name and city, by initials, anonymously, etc.
You are encouraged to add a personal statement or apology.
You are encouraged to let others know you have participated and invite them to participate as well.