9th 2023 Post – Vision for Repair and Transformation

Blog Posts Where Race is an Aspect of the Themes

Uluru - Ayers Rock

Following George Floyd’s tortuous murder, many were deeply motivated to try to do something. I read Randall Robinson’s book when it came out in 2001. “The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks.” Thereafter, I frequently thought about reparations. After George Floyd’s death, I interviewed 20 people – 10 Black and 10 White – about reparations. The following vision for repair and transformation was a result of the interviews and insights. This is not a vision for reparations to be done by the Federal Government. I fully support the vision laid out by Darity and Mullen of Duke University in their excellent book, “From Here to Equality.” Theirs is a vision that it is up to the Federal Gov’t – ( not individuals, cities, churches, non-profits or individuals ) – to enact “Reparations” for all descendants of those formerly enslaved. Their book is well worth the read.

This attached vision is what could possibly occur by privately raising funds so as to show the Federal Government that it can be done, and it will be effective.

Vision for Repair and Transformation

  1. The Vision will need to evolve with partners to attempt to REPAIR through reparations. Truth telling can begin by recommending “What is Owed” by Nikola Hannah-Jones 6/28/20 NY Times Magazine and the book: “From Here to Equality” by Darity and Mullen. Before speaking publicly about this effort it would be helpful if two inspirational documents were developed. The First, would address in an inspirational manner the “Why” of reparations or repair funds and the Second, would address in detail “How” the money will be raised, distributed and used for repair funds.
  2. The reparations will be for Blacks who are descendants of slaves who as individuals or as families have less than 500,000 dollars in net worth.
  3. Reparations will be extended through “Wealth Packages.” or “Repair Funds” or “Repair and Transformation Funds” or some other better names that will be discovered through conversation and listening.
  4. One example of a “Wealth Package” could be:
    • $100,000 for housing
    • $25,000 for health insurance
    • $50,000 for 529 plans for children
    • $25,000 for a savings account
    • $50,000 for irrevocable trusts for the children with payouts occurring at age 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55.
    • All of these fund uses are to build wealth.
  5. Numerous “Wealth Packages” with different designs using 250,000 dollars would be created by pro bono lawyers with expertise in real estate and estate planning and in conjunction with pro bono certified financial planners. These individuals need to be identified and approached and develop an appendix of at least 5 different packages for different people. Each and every package when it is extended to a Black individual will include a small group of these identified professionals that will remain as financial counselors as these packages are extended over a 3 to 5 year period. This is so that all financial decisions are made with professional advice and the professional advice would be on-going for many years so that preservation and growth of the wealth package can occur.
  6. These wealth packages will be extended to a Black person in MN whenever the reparations fund reaches 250,000 dollars. It will keep being extended every time an additional $250,000 is raised.
  7. Fund-raising and collaboration will occur with foundations, corporations, churches, synagogues, mosques, individuals and community organizations, requesting donations. A great deal more detailed planning with new committed individuals to be involved in fund-raising needs to occur before this effort or vision is announced publicly. An example is approaching the Itasca Project, The MN Business Roundtable, or groups of CEO’s who will come together to support this effort not just with corporate monies, but with donations by top management in the corporate world through-out MN. Another example is to ask 20 individuals to commit to giving 250,000 each as soon as this Vision is announced publicly so that the fund starts with 5M. Another example is to approach leading Black authors all of whom have written about and endorsed reparations and ask them to allow their names to be used to publicly endorse this effort. A mere beginning list that could include so many more is: Eddie Glaude, Isabel Wilkerson, Bryan Stevenson, Michael Eric Dyson, and Ibram Kendi.
  8. It is surely conceivable that groups of individuals or organizations will work together to raise one wealth package. 5 people giving 50,000, 10 people giving 25,000, or 50 people giving 5,000 will together raise a “wealth package.” Individual donations of any smaller amounts will be accepted. The SPIRIT of many people giving to the fund will establish broad community support for the effort.
  9. All decisions about who receives these wealth packages will be made solely by a group of Black individuals possibly representing established and highly credible organizations such as the NAACP, the Urban League, various Church leaders and others.

Possible Future Action

  1. After 3 years of TRUTH TELLING, and requesting money for reparations and distributing wealth packages the crescendo of this effort could possibly culminate in a major conference in Washington D.C.
  2. This conference could be for at least 3 days and possibly a full week. Congress people from the House and Senate involved with H.R. 40 and individuals from the White House including the President and Vice President would be asked to participate and speak.
  3. With the leadership of all the partner organizations and individuals who join this effort from MN and many other collaborators —The Congress and the President will be asked to appropriate billions of dollars for repair wealth packages to be extended to all descendants of slavery in the United States.
  4. This grassroots effort from MN will have proven on a small scale that this can be done and the effort will be a gift to the Nation to attempt to atone for the genocide of slavery and Jim Crow and to make good on the broken promise of 40 acres and a mule.
  5. In 2023 as an outgrowth of H.R.40 and the comparable bill in the Senate it will be past time for our Nation to “REPAIR” the devastating damages from slavery, Jim Crow, and on-going persistent discrimination. One day hopefully we can turn the page to healing and reconciliation and become truly one Nation under GOD.

A few closing thoughts. I spent about 10 hours a week for 2 years reading and attending seminars and webinars on the very broad topic of reparations. It seemed that one of the many spiritual impulses that was inspired by George Floyd’s murderous sacrifice was a broad-based discussion about racial repair and reparations. After attending many meetings and reading widely I recommend one organization that I believe is worthy of watching and supporting. I am supporting it and will in the future. It is Restorative Actions. I am of course pleased to dialogue with anyone further about this organization.