TAKING THE REPARATIONS MOVEMENT TO THE STREETS
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (December 20, 2001)
African people in America have a historic responsibility to never forget how we came to America, what happened to us in route, what happened when we arrived upon theses shores, and how these events continue to impact on us everyday in this country. The vestiges of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery are at the root and foundation of our oppressed condition in America today.
In this spirit and in this context, through the momentum gained from our participation in the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa this past summer, the Durban 400 (led by the December 12th Movement International Secretariat and the National Black United Front/NBUF), has called for a Millions For Reparations Mass Demonstration, March, and Protest Rally demanding reparations from the United States Government in its Capital City, Washington, D.C. on August 17, 2002.
At this point in the development of the Reparations Movement in America, it is time to take our organizing efforts to the streets in a mass way to demonstrate to the world our unity in the quest and demand for reparations for African people in America from the United States Government.
Thus far, the organizing work of the Reparations Movement has centered around educational forums, reparations lectures, radio and television discussions, flyers, brochures and pamphlets explaining why we are owed reparations, articles and books explaining the many facets of our demands for reparationS.
The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N`COBRA), since its founding in 1987, has been the major force in educating and inspiring thousands of African people in America to understand our demands for reparations and in fact, join the Reparations Movement. Through its national conferences, local chapter formations, and mass educational campaigns, N`COBRA has been the major organizing force in helping to build and ignite the Reparations Movement in America.
We must now unite our reparations organizing efforts to mobilize African people in America to participate and actively support the Millions For Reparations Mass Demonstration, March, and Protest Rally on August 17, 2002 in Washington, D.C.
The organizing and mobilizing taking place in the Reparations Movement, throughout the United States, has the potential of revitalizing the Black Liberation Movement in America. A broad spectrum of African in America organizations, associations, institutions, sororities, fraternities, churches, and just everyday African people in this country support the just demand for reparations. Millions of African people in America clearly understand and support the Reparations Movement’s demands for reparations from the United States Government and a variety of private institutions and corporations who all benefited from more than four hundred years of free labor from African people in America.
August 17, 2002 is the 115th anniversary of the birth of Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who was born in the small town of St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. In selecting Marcus Garvey’s birth date for the day of the Millions For Reparations Mass Demonstration, March, and Protest Rally, we are paying tribute to the person who led one of the greatest mass movements for African redemption and liberation in this country during the 1920’s. A great deal of the success of the Garvey Movement was focused around organizing in the streets. We must understand that our most successful organizing efforts, which impacted on this country, have been when we have taken our issues to the streets. We must take the Reparations Movement to the streets!
Perhaps Garvey’s greatest contribution to the upliftment of our people, that we must incorporate into the Reparations Movement, was his ability to find a formula for organizing African people around the African principle: the greatest good for the greatest number. This was reflected in the first International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World in Madison Square Garden in 1920. Over twenty-five thousand African people from all over the world witnessed the choosing of Red, Black, and Green as the colors of the Provisional Government.
In the Durban 400 Call for the Millions For Reparations Mass Demonstration, March, and Protest Rally we say,
" The exploitation of African people in this country has taken many forms through the years. The centuries of chattel slavery laid the foundation for our relationship to America. From the sharecropping fields to the factories, African labor built the ‘ "super power" ’ that is the United States. In return we have endured the terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan, systematic lynchings, chain gangs, plantation prisons, police torture and murder, poverty, miseducation, inadequate housing, unemployment, welfare WEP programs, ACS child kidnappings, voter discrimination, crack, heroin, Rockefeller drug laws, Political Prisoners, and the assassination of our leaders. However, we are still here!
The demand for reparations for African people is just and simple. It is simply an attempt to ‘ "repair" ’ to ‘ "make whole" ’ the descendants of the victims of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, which was a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY! Crimes against humanity have no statute of limitations. And our people still suffer from the vestiges of their enslavement and colonization."
If we truly internalize this CALL, we will prepare to go "to the Capitol of this nation, built on slave labor, the rightful and only place to declare our human and legal right to Reparations… THEY OWE US!" We must take the Reparations Movement to the Streets! Let’s get ready!
National Black United Front (NBUF)
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