What is Reparations Summer?

Reparations Summer is a wealth redistribution and movement building campaign of the BLACK LAND AND LIBERATION INITIATIVE (BLLI). Reparations Summer engages people with access to wealth to organize reparations to build Black land-infrastructure. Reparations Summer is a strategy for harvesting self-determining and self-sustaining economies and sanctuary for Black people.

Black movements and our ancestors have issued a clarion call of reparations now over several generations, but there has been little collective change to how new economies are resourced from the ground up. Reparations Summer is a call to make that change now through a wealth redistribution movement rooted in reparations and rematriation of colonized land.

Every summer, Reparations Summer brings together people with access to wealth into a new Juneteenth tradition: organizing to redistribute mass amounts of wealth to Black land-based networks. For the next few years, all Reparations Summer funds will go to Drinking Gourd, a network of Black LGBTQI land stewards who are building collective infrastructure for holistic earth stewardship, guided by Afro-Indigenous healing traditions and land ways.

Reparations Summer is a movement-building strategy and blueprint for wealth redistribution that has been woven by the Black Land Liberation Initiative (BLLI). BLLI partners with Black-led networks committed to building land-based governance and organizes people with access to wealth to create new models of philanthropy.

Reparations Summer grows local Black infrastructures, harvests self-determining and self-sustaining economies and sanctuary for Black people, and provides a model for how reparations can be grounded in the work of personal and collective healing, political education, and a long-term commitment to transformation and organizing.

There is nothing new under the sun, but there are other suns.

Octavia Butler

What We Believe

Our Values in Practice

We believe that transforming land ownership, building interdependent economies, and building power for Black self-determination in tandem with indigenous sovereignty will set us free. We also believe that creating Black land infrastructure requires a commitment to deep relationship building and decolonial praxis over an extended period of time. As we move mass resources, we need to be in alignment on what that infrastructure is – to make sure we do not recreate the system that enslaved us.

 

We center Black Radical Feminism, Abolition, Decolonization, and Radical Afro-Ecology as frameworks that teach us how to move with each other and how to move towards restoration and repair with land and ecosystems. We are working towards a vision rooted in collectivism and cooperation, deep democracy, and intergenerational leadership. Through our praxis we build community accountability, power, regenerating wealth, and new economic paradigms that meet the needs and amplify the vision of our communities.

“Never forget where we came from and always praise the bridges that carried us over”

Fannie Lou Hamer

Our Legacy

We stand on the shoulders of movement leaders and organizations that came before us. Fannie Lou Hamer, Marcus Garvey, Huey Newton, Queen Nanny of the Jamaican Maroons, Cecille Fatiman, Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X are a few of the movement ancestors who guide our vision. From Slave rebellions, to The Black Panther Party, from the work of the Alabama Communists and the Harlem Cooperatives during the Great Depression, to the visionary and foundational work of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, we build on a visionary legacy guided by our ancestors.

We are also grounded in the wisdom of our contemporary moment, including Transformative Justice and the work of Black feminist and Abolitionist leaders, theories and spaces of practice.

Who We Are

Black Land & Liberation Initiative (BLLI) is a program of the Center for Third World Organizing that coordinates land-based reparations experiments and supports the growth of Black land relations and models of land-based collective governance. BLLI incubates and amplifies Black land movement through storytelling and through land-based infrastructure support. BLLI supports the creation of Black land infrastructure in three ways: 

(1)  Creating and piloting models and for wealth redistribution and waging bold Reparations experiments.

(2)  Incubating Black land networks for 3-5 years, to support the creation of Black land infrastructure and models of collective governance. BLLI resources these incubated networks through our wealth redistribution models. BLLI’s current incubated land network is Drinking Gourd.

​​(3) Offering project incubation, programming and/or containers that support Black land projects including: connect to fiscal sponsorship, infrastructure consulting, administrative support, and general operating funding.

BLLI incubation is guided by these values: 

    • Cooperation and InterdependenceWe strive to cultivate stronger relationships, greater coordination, and more unity amongst organizing and amongst all people. Relationships are key, and are our most powerful currency.
    • Self-determination, Autonomy and Sovereignty with Accountability to the collective
    • Whole beingness – We invite the whole of each person – all identities and all relationships they are accountable to, to be represented rather than asking folks to choose.
    • Healing with Land, showing up to support and be in fellowship and collaboration across land spaces and being led by people and beings on the ground.
    • Valuing Land Stewardship –  In working with land stewards, land stewards must be resourced in part for their time on the land.
    • Decolonization, which requires deep relationships, practice, healing, and learning from the land, youth and elders.
    • Re-indigenization which includes celebration, grieving, rituals and practices rooted in ancestral wisdom and land wisdom, reciprocity and valuing each other and all beings.
    • Healing, slowing down, restoration, combating burnout 
    • We are in a process of unlearning the oppressive elements of dominant culture and are committed to a practice of eliminating them from ourselves, organizing spaces, and communities.

 

We are an aligned ecosystem weaving our values, and strategies to reclaim our sacred bond to wholly exist with land, community, and organic solidarity economies. 

We span of acres and geographies but are mostly in the South. We are many beloved communities. We are organizing together to create new governance and build self-sustaining power. We are Black, brilliant, and ready to forge harmonious pathways for a liberated future.

 We are elders still learning, grappling with contradictions and looking to bring the next generation home to the land. We are young radical queer folks innovating and holding space with elders to co-create and remember our culture.

We are builders of new maps, new paradigms,  and self-determining economies. 

Follow BLLI on social media for real time updates on the projects we are part of weaving and incubating, learn more and help us spread the word about Reparations Summer!

Collective Governance is consistent hard work of expanding in this new paradigm as a community. A consistent commitment to clear communication. Creating a container for holding the whole lives of every community member.

Dr. Deanna Downes

Our People

Drinking Gourd is a network of Black LGBTQI land stewards who are building collective infrastructure for holistic earth stewardship, guided by Afro-Indigenous healing traditions and land ways. We support and resource building land-infrastructure to support new systems of: housing, health and healing, food and water sovereignty, art, culture, and education rooted in the values and needs of our communities.

Our People

Drinking Gourd is a network of Black LGBTQI land stewards who are building collective infrastructure for holistic earth stewardship, guided by Afro-Indigenous healing traditions and land ways. We support and resource building land-infrastructure to support new systems of: housing, health and healing, food and water sovereignty, art, culture, and education rooted in the values and needs of our communities.