The National-International Reparations Conference
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill
Dr. Conrad Worrill, Director/Professor, Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS) located at 700 East Oakwood Blvd, Chicago, Illinois, 60653, 773-268-7500, Fax: 773-268-3835
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web site: www.ccics-chicago.org, Twitter: @CCICS_Chicago
As I indicated in last week’s column, I participated in the National/International Reparations Summit as a member of the newly formed National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) in New York City, April 9-11, 2015. The National/International Reparations Summit was an outgrowth of the National/International Forum on Revitalizing the Reparations Movement held at Chicago State University on April 19, 2014. This forum was sponsored by the Institute for the Black World 21st Century, in conjunction with the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference.
The Honorable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and former Chairman of CARICOM (Caribbean Community of Nations) was scheduled to be the keynote speaker, but due to a head of state conflict he sent as his representative Dr. Hillary Beckles. Dr. Beckles is one of the region’s most distinguished academics who gave a riveting report on the recent work of CARICOM’s Reparations Commission. Beckles reported that the CARICOM member states were calling for reparations “as compensation for the crimes of slavery and indigenous genocide at the hands of former European colonizers.”
The Honorable John Conyers, Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus and sponsor of the HR-40 Reparations Study Bill and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam also participated and spoke in support of the work of CARICOM.
Other participants were Dr. Ron Daniels, President of the Institute of the Black World; Dr. Conrad Worrill, Director, Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies of Northeastern Illinois University; Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; JoAnn Watson, former member of the Detroit City Council; Don Rojos, Director of Communications, Institute of the Black World; Illinois State Senator Donne Trotter, and Judge Lionel Baptiste who served as moderator of the forum.
The newly formed National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) is made up thus far of the following people: Dr. Conrad Worrill, Dr. Raymond Winbush, Dr. Iva Carruthers, Prof. Charles Ogletree, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. JoAnn Watson, Atty. Nkechi Tiafa, Atty. Roger Wareham, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Nana Dr. Patricia Newton, Bill Lucy, Yvette Modestin, Salim Adofo, Kamm Howard, and Minister Akbar Muhammad.
“In the memory of our ancestors, those who gathered for this historic Summit in New York viewed the National/International Summit as the beginning of the final stage in the long historical process of seeking justice, repair, restitution, and recompense for the monstrous crimes of African enslavement and native genocide.”
It is in that spirit that the Summit adopted the following Resolutions, Pronouncements and
• Agreed to consolidate and expand the growing African global reparations movement by calling on civil society organizations and governments in countries where there is a legacy of enslavement to establish national reparations commissions or committees. Such commissions and committees should place a particular priority on educating, mobilizing and organizing young people. In that regard, the Summit agreed to connect with and
engage the #BlackLivesMatter Movement in the United States and globally.
• Agreed that the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC), which is demanding compensation/restitution for the former European colonialists for Native Genocide and African enslavement, will support the National African-American Reparations Commission (NAARC) by encouraging and facilitating Caribbean political leaders, artists, civil society activists and scholars to participate in various NAARC educational and mobilizing/organizing initiatives in the months and years ahead.
• NAARC recognized the extraordinary value of the vision/mission of CARICOM in establishing the Reparations Commission and pledged to support the Commission in its milestone programmatic and mobilizing/organizing work in whatever ways feasible moving forward.
• Agreed to welcome the establishment Reparations Commissions in Europe, Britain and Canada that share the mission and values of the CRC and NAARC, and to seek to meet with such Commissions in the near future.
• Agreed to convene a Global Summit in Europe at the earliest practical date to take CARICOM'S demand for reparations for Native Genocide and African enslavement into the home of the offending nations. In addition, it was agreed that a Global Summit of Reparations Commissions and aspiring bodies be convened in the Caribbean in 2017.
• Called upon the CARICOM Heads of government to proceed urgently with the recommendation that the slave-owning and slave-trading European nations be invited to attend an inter-governmental reparatory justice summit in 2015.
• Recognized U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr., as a champion of the Reparations Movement as the consistent sponsor of HR-40, the reparations study bill in the US Congress, and urged the Congressional Black Caucus, major civil and human rights, faith, labor and civic organizations in the USA to support the global reparations movement.
• Declared a Decade for Reparations and in that context, applauded the General Assembly of the United Nations on the Declaration of 2015-2024 as the Decade for People of African descent which should advance the demand for reparations. The Summit expressed strong support for the Decade's program of activities. It also called on member states of the U.N. to officially launch the Decade. The Summit further applauded UNESCO for its continued support of the 'Slave Routes Project' and the General History of Africa Project.
• Applauded the government of Brazil for declaring mandatory the study of African history and culture at all levels of the educational system in that country and called on all countries with African-descended populations to do likewise and also to recognize the validity of traditional African spiritual and religious systems.
• Called on the Global Reparations Movement to develop sustainable funding strategies and called on the international community to work towards a 21st Century new moral order for sustainable development in which reparatory justice is an integral component.
The Reparations Movement continues to push forward and our ancestors will be pleased.