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This Juneteenth 2020 we reclaim our legacy as we demand Reparations NOW.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of chattel slavery in the United States, when nearly two months after the surrender of Robert E. Lee, the freedom message of the Emancipation Proclamation was received by enslaved people in Galveston, TX and the approximately quarter of a million Black people still enslaved in the state were returned their freedom.
Our people’s freedom dreams have long included land and enough resources for a fresh start. Yet, from 40 acres and a mule to fully funded, quality education, we have received nothing but broken promises. While Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom from slavery, there is still much healing, freedom, and Reparations due.
In 2017 Black Land Liberation Initiative reclaimed the 40 acre legacy and demanded white folks move resources to our networks. Three years later, we’ve been a part of building Black Land Power infrastructure and are organizing white folks with access to wealth into action.
We are declaring this as the inaugural call for Reparations Summer. Each Juneteenth shall mark a summer of organizing and moving no strings attached resources to Black land stewards.This investment is the return of stolen wealth to local Black-led collectively stewarded land projects and infrastructure BUT THIS IS NOT REPARATIONS. We demand that white people and folks with access to the accumulated and hoarded resources move money and land out of the extractive economy now so that we can plant it as seeds to grow the Reparations strategies we need to become truly whole.
Just redistribution of these resources will take generations to achieve, which is why we are calling for a long term initiative where those of you with the resources organize for a more just redistribution of wealth this Juneteenth and every Juneteenth through summer for years to come. We are calling on you to organize for institutional, familial, local and federal Reparations at the same time as you release the stolen wealth you have access to or might get access to through organizing your folks. Don’t wait to move the money, don’t wait to organize for Reparations.
We are choosing this momentous annual celebration to launch a summer of wealth redistribution that answers the call of Reparations NOW. We cannot depend on our government to give Black people the reparations due for our ancestors’ stolen labor. Furthermore, we know that the majority of wealth accumulated from that labor remains in the hands of the families who enslaved Black people or profited off of the white supremacist, patriarchal and capitalist sytem that upheld slavery, Jim Crow segregation and its descendant horrors.
While your contribution is nowhere close to Reparations, we demand that you move resources to seed Reparations NOW. We know that it will take power and resources to gain the rightful healing, restoration, redistribution and compensation we deserve. The critical resources we need are currently being used as gambling chips on the table of capitalism. We can no longer wait as our lives and livelihoods are bartered and made cheap. We need people with wealth to organize and move mass resources to build the land-based infrastructure we need and build power for the Reparations we need, now.
Land projects across this network model our values of collective stewardship and are organizing and holding space for: healing, education, sanctuary, building food systems, art and culture. Many of these land stewards have been in relationship to their land for generations.
We claim reparations for land stewards NOW.
As we divest from policing and dismantle the violent colonial structures that continue their projects of genocide and enslavement we are building the infrastructure for the world we envision. We must #DefundThePolice and #InvestInBlackLand.
We need concrete reparations mechanisms that build new systems NOW.
The Black Land and Power network is doing the necessary building and providing the models, vision, and infrastructure we so desperately need in a time where crises continue to overlap and worsen. We need mass resources to move to collective Black stewarded land structures. And on top of that we need alignment on what that infrastructure is – to make sure we do not recreate the system that enslaved us. We do not support Black capitalism, we do not support borders, we do not believe in colonial models of ownership.
We are declaring that reparations MUST include land and community stewardship.
We were never slaves, that is what the colonizer called us; we were indigenous Africans. Indigenous Africans with an agrarian legacy and relationship to land that the colonizers of Turtle Island needed to create the “new world“. There was no new world; this land has been stewarded for countless generations by Indigenous peoples of this land and our people were enslaved as farmers, workers, and caregivers to the colonizer that stole both of our lands and traded our bodies like objects. Our forced labor made the wealth that is used as gambling chips for the current economy.
Today and for the past seven generations Black people in the so called United States have been reclaiming our indigenous agrarian legacy. We cannot bring the dead back. We cannot go back to our lands which were stolen. This is our home now and as we reclaim our right to self determination we do not dream of becoming the colonizer, we dream of belonging to and having the freedom to steward land and our own labor to contribute to our own people. We dream that we may work alongside all of our indigenous relatives for Reparations and ReMatriation of land.
We stand with our indigenous relatives and demand indigenous sovereignty alongside Black self determination. BLP honors the history of land, community, and land stewardship and rejects the colonial project of ownership and organizes to engage our people in the critical task of recognizing and honoring interdependence with the land and each other, maintaining and respecting the cultural and spiritual tradition of the peoples and lands we are on.
Reparations cannot be made with money alone. However, the seeds of freedom sown by Black land stewards will be nurtured with the resources from the wealthy families who continue to hoard and gamble the wealth brought from our ancestors’ enslaved labor.
“We are not asking people to answer for their ancestors’ crimes, we are asking them to stop upholding the structures their ancestors created and to stop hoarding the wealth our ancestors created. We are telling white people to stop hoarding, and gambling, and contributing to the continued violence and destruction of life, to heal, and to let us heal and let us build.”
– Akua Deirdre Smith, BlackOUT Collective & Black Land and Power
Reparations Summer is a call for white people to assemble resources and to forward reparations each summer. We invite folks with access to wealth to: (1) ORGANIZE, (2) MOVE RESOURCES now and (3) continue EDUCATING and MOBILIZING your networks to move resources every Juneteenth until this collective mass mobilization is more than enough to seed the autonomous infrastructure we envision. Do this as we continue to organize for larger Reparations goals. Will you continue to invest in this violent capitalist system or will you invest in our collective liberation?