Reparations Working Group
The Reparations Working Group is important to Coming To The Table because it provides avenues to impact racial justice directly in the community, whereas many of our other Working Groups (i.e. Linked Descendants, Mindfulness, etc.) support very crucial racial healing on more personal levels.
Much of this group’s work in the coming year will be focused on publicizing the CTTT Reparations Guide, supplementing it with real-life examples of reparations in action, and communicating with local groups and others on ways to move reparations forward.
The renewed media attention and vocal support of reparations by presidential candidates is once again making reparations a hot topic. This interest will probably continue at least though 2020. But there is significant confusion and misunderstanding about what reparations is and what it’s not. By using and sharing the Guide, CTTT is in a good position to provide education to the public about reparations and why it’s important.
We hope the CTTT Reparations Guide will help spur action and discussion about the meaning and possibility of reparations. Currently, the Working Group is asking organizations and individuals to commit to carrying out at least one or more of the reparative actions in the Guide. The Working Group invites you to accept this challenge, let us know about it, and provide feedback on the Reparations Guide as a whole.
Download the CTTT Reparations Guide:
You can read and download the CTTT Reparations Guide HERE. To provide feedback, and to get more information, please contact us by submitting the form at the bottom of this page.
Martin Luther King explains ‘Reparations’
King saw reparations as an avenue for the repayment of some of what our nation and other entities unfairly denied or stole from African-Americans. Coming To The Table agrees with that assessment, and also believes that reparations can offer a way to breach our nation’s enormous racial divide by fully acknowledging and atoning for the harms of slavery and its aftermath.
We believe our nation cannot be healed until that is done.
What do we mean by Reparations?
Coming to the Table (CTTT) defines reparations as the taking of affirmative steps to repair the historic injustices done to African Americans during slavery, Jim Crow and later. Those responsible for instituting, carrying out or benefitting from the injustices — the United States government, businesses, institutions and white Americans – should be the ones engaged in the reparative actions, which can take many forms including monetary payments, apology and others, such as those included in the CTTT Reparations Guide.
When the average American hears “reparations,” they may think of some form of compensatory payment to individuals who are descendants of people who were enslaved. However, CTTT believes that the generational harm that has been done to African Americans extends more than a century beyond the end of slavery. It is important that reparations involve white Americans understanding and acknowledging the nature and extent of the harm that has been committed to African Americans and making a commitment to never repeat the injustices again and to repair the harms that still exist today, which could include making monetary recompense.
Without that understanding and agreement as to the true nature of the harm and the parties responsible, there is no atonement. There is no apology. There is no forgiveness. There is no healing. And healing of our nation’s racial wounds is the ultimate goal of Coming to the Table’s work.
The following is an agreement or pledge that can be accepted by those of European descent using the CTTT Reparations Guide or working to support reparations:
“I recognize, acknowledge and understand the terrible and long-standing injustices done to African Americans in this country during slavery, Jim Crow and beyond. I acknowledge that although I, personally, might not have caused these injustices, as a white American I accept that I and my ancestors have reaped the benefits that accrued to me as a result of these injustices toward African Americans. Because it is not possible for my ancestors to remedy any injustice today, I take responsibility for repairing the harms that still exist on their behalf and on mine.”
Our Group's History
Founded in 2015, the Reparations Working Group is comprised of Coming to the Table members who are very much oriented to “Taking Action,” one of the four pillars in CTTT’s approach to achieving its Vision and Mission. The group was formed after several community conference calls on “reparations” and a subsequent solicitation for volunteers.
Since 2015, the group has been working to organize into a coherent document all the reparations ideas put forth by CTTT members during the initial conference calls, two breakout sessions at the 2016 CTTT National Gathering, and in response to a solicitation of ideas in the June 2017 CTTT Newsletter.
In June 2017, the Working Group reached out to other groups who have been working on reparations efforts. CTTT believes that to be effective, we must collaborate with other like-minded organizations, if significant reparations efforts are to succeed.
In January 2018, the Working Group released the first version of the CTTT Reparations Guide in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, and because 2018 marked 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King spoke forcefully about the need for reparations.
Contact the Reparations Working Group
Questions? Comments? Submit the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.