Friday, January 8, 2010

Why We Need RepaRations!!!

Why We Need Reparations and now!!

I was involved with the REPARATIONS movement in Philadelphia for about three years. Most of my work centered on the work I did with a group called N’COBRA—the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. We met in North Philadelphia. The work was hard, but it was some of the most enjoyable political work I have ever done. I got to meet with other Black community leaders, political representatives in Washington, D.C. and their staffs as we traveled to D.C. to advocate for HR40—the bill that would have provided for money to ``study’’ the issue of REPARATIONS for Black Americans... The thought was that once we had the opportunity to study the issue properly, the American people and plenty of American legislators would see that some form of compensation for the over 200 years of chattel slavery that Blacks suffered under was in order and only fair. After all, some historians think that over 100 million Blacks were killed during the Middle Passage; over 2000 people--men, women and even children—were tortured, raped, shot castrated and or hung; discrimination still exists today; there was the reprehensible treatment of runaway slaves and the equally reprehensible history of the Jim Crow South; and the fact that Black men are still to this day steered towards prison and jail instead of school, college and other places for higher education. Not to mention an unemployment rate that is through the roof in some big cities. Someone needs to pay for the incredible double standards and the continuing discrimination that Black people suffer under in the housing and job market and in every other life passageway. If President Obama thinks he is going to get re-elected without handling this I know many REPARATIONS activists who have another thought in mind. I actually talked to a few Congressional Representatives and help them see the importance of HR40. A few signed on to the bill, others hedged and waited for more grass-roots support to bubble up from the community down under. Congressman John Conyers of Detroit, Michigan is the sponsor of HR40.


Questions about REPARATIONS for Sister Charlotte Harris of N’COBRA!! (The National Coalition of Blacks for REPARATIONS in America) Interviewed on 11-22-09

How long have you been actively working on the Reparations issue? What is your position with N’COBRA and what do you do professionally?

Maybe eight years.
I am Membership Chair of the Philadelphia Chapter of N’COBRA and An At large Board Member nationally of N’COBRA...

I am a Psycho Therapist by trade.

What exactly are reparations?

Reparations is a form of repair for what the U.S. government, businesses and the U.S. citizenry has done to us, the damage caused from their behavior from the 1400’s to now.

Why do you feel that Black people don’t know what they are and don’t feel they are ever going to get them?

``They don’t know for the same reasons everyone doesn’t know. They don’t know (because) they cannot make the connections. They haven’t had it taught to them the connections to the centuries long rape of Africa the theft of its resources, the theft of its land and the theft of its people which created the African Diaspora and present day vestiges of poverty, lack of health care , (and lack of) land ownership, justice and education. They don’t understand that the wealth this country (North America) has is connected to the 500 years of unfair, unjust malevolent behavior of European business, government and citizenry against Africans.’’

What does this disbelief or mental disconnect among people of African Descent do to the REPARATIONS movement itself?

``Besides frustrating me and making me sad it also reinforces the need for me to do more work towards educating my people towards the goal of REPARATIONS.’’

How can you and N’CORBA generate more mass support within the Black community?

``One way is to do a series of lectures and to speak at various organizations. Speak at various African organizations and to partner with various organizations & to join with various international Black organizations to work towards REPARATIONS. ‘’

What do you mean by partner?

``To join forces with World Wide African organizations that are striving towards Reparations.’’

Is support for reparations outside of the Black community important? Why or Why not?

``It is important because it will make less people to fight (against) to get reparations.’’

Will this support among Blacks alienate the White community and make them more hostile during these economically troubled times? (2) Will they (Whites) be jealous and take it out on Obama and other Black people if they see even an inkling of Black people getting any financial rewards for past and or even present injustices?

(1) ``No, the ones (Whites) who are already alienated and hostile are already alienated and hostile. We already have support among Whites they are not alienated and hostile. Most Caucasians already are against it because they deem us inhuman and not worthy of Reparations. They would have to admit that they had committed crimes against us and most Caucasians are not willing to admit that. They are still today benefiting from those crimes by the way society is structured today. They are less likely to be stopped by police, they are less likely to be killed by police, (they are) less likely to go to jail. They benefit by putting Black people in jail. The prison industrial complex benefits by putting Black people in jail. America has an army and employs mercenaries to kill Brown people all over the world. Businesses are designed to exploit people of color in America and around the world. ’’

(2) ``In order for Africans to be paid what is due us for our condition to be repaired, White people will be uncomfortable because the hierarchy that says GOD is a White man (and that) the President (is) a White men, will be changed. Black people are at the bottom. The pyramid hierarchy (of power) will change. In order to have justice the pyramid must change and end.’’

Where do we go from here? What are the plans of N’COBRA and how can the masses within the Black community help?

``The plans are to educate everyone and continue fighting for REPARATIONS. The masses of Black people can help by joining N’COBRA which is a mere $35 a year. (Or $20 a year if you don’t have a local chapter. )’’

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