By Jenn Taylor, guest writer
I believe in reparations because I believe in my people. I consider myself a displaced African that is living on stolen land. I have thought about the question of reparations through the years and realize that the stolen legacy, brutality, and slavery that my people have suffered can never be erased or settled. I have cried many times as I thought about how I wish that I knew what country I came from. What was the language of my people? What were our customs? How was birth celebrated, and death commemorated? All remnants of my original culture are gone!
Since we have been here we have been exploited and forced to build this country. Our labor has built the infrastructure of this country, and built the wealth of the world through our slavery and stolen natural resources. Slavery has financed universities such as but not limited to Yale, Harvard, and Brown. Slavery has financed many insurance companies and banks such as Brown Brothers, J.P Morgan Chase, AIG, Aetna, and New York Life. The list of companies and families that benefited from even extend to our so-called founding fathers and politicians who wrote documents and laws that further oppress us even to this day.
It is a travesty that we should even have to ask for a portion of the trillions of dollars that was made upon our backs, to be compensated for the millions lives lost along the middle passage whose bones dance upon the ocean floor, rebuild lives were destroyed due to redlining and other practices which forced us into poor living conditions, and to be afforded a life without both white terrorism and white privilege looming over us. I could probably write for several days and still not list all of the atrocities that we have suffered, and still live with the affects of.
I would like for my people of African descent and aboriginal peoples within the United States to receive reparations in the following forms:
1. All companies, both here and abroad, along with their subsidiaries that directly benefitted from slavery must give 25% of their revenue annually to a fund that would help improve the living conditions, housing, small businesses, and local schools of the poor and disenfranchised people of color.
2. All college/ university education must be free to all descendants of slaves living within the United States and its territories. School loan forgiveness must be granted to those with current loans.
3. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, as outlined by Dr. Joy de Gruy Leary, must be recognized and treatment centers built in order to address the trauma that took place.
4. All history books in schools must be rewritten with the truth about slavery and the exploitation of people in this country.
5. All health care, treatments, and medications must be free to all citizens. All 501C3 businesses including churches must be taxed in order to assist with the costs.
6. All prisoners that are incarcerated for nonviolent crimes must be released. In addition, their rights as citizens must be automatically restored such as, but not limited to: the right to vote, the ability to qualify for employment, and the ability to apply for government assistance. Also, all corporations that employ prisoners must pay at least minimum wage, and offer employment to those released. Currently some prisoners make an average of .25 to .80 cents per hour. All other prisoners must be directed towards efforts to rebuild communities.
7. A formal apology must be written and shared with the world.
Permission for publication provided by Jenn Taylor
Photo credit: Tyler Merbler
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