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Slavery-reparation activists demand $15 billion from Boston, perhaps $50 million more from white churches
Screenshot of WCVB YouTube video

Slavery reparation activists demand $15 billion from Boston, perhaps $50 million more from white churches

'Every life is incalculable,' said the head of the commission.

Activists at a recent meeting demanded the City of Boston allocate billions of dollars in slavery reparations and also called for local white churches to invest millions more.

On Saturday, approximately 200 people gathered at the Bolling Building in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston to meet with members of an activist group called the Boston People's Reparations Commission. The professed purpose of the meeting was to establish community demands regarding restitution for slavery, which was effectively banned in Massachusetts before the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1789.

'I'm born and raised in Boston. I couldn't stand this country for what they did to my people!'

The Boston People's Reparations Commission officially called for $15 billion from the city, ostensibly to be distributed among current black residents to atone for the beleaguered lives of slaves who died centuries ago. However, Rev. Kevin Peterson, the head of the activist commission, indicated that no amount would ever be satisfactory.

"Fifteen billion ... is not enough," he told WCVB. "Every life is incalculable. We think about tens of thousands of slaves who died in the midst of slavery in Boston. How do you put a number on that?"

Others who spoke at the meeting expressed similar ideas.

"Reparations is cash. It's land. It's education. It's these other functions that are included. It's not just money," said resident Nick Johnson.

Charles Yancey, who spent more than three decades on the Boston City Council, noted that the promises made to former slaves following the Civil War have never been realized. "That has yet to happen," Yancey insisted. "Let's set the tone for the United States of America right here in the city of Boston."

Still others took advantage of the opportunity simply to vent racial grievances. "I'm born and raised in Boston, Mass.," railed Wanda Hervey. "I couldn't stand this country [for] what they did to my people!"

Rev. Peterson claimed that his group has also been in talks with the leaders of white churches in the area to "invest" an additional $50 million in the black community. Though the current status of those talks is unclear, at least one white woman at the meeting stood in solidarity with those demanding reparations.

"We acknowledge the truth of violence perpetuated in stolen lives, stolen land, stolen labor, and make a commitment to work with you to uncover the truth and work for repair," pledged Betty Southwick of the Church of the Covenant.

Rev. Peterson seemed pleased with the statements from Southwick and others. "Part of my vision has been about a statement of atonement from this part of our community and this part of our city’s culture," he said.

Back in January, Democrat Mayor Michelle Wu established the Task Force on Reparations. The task force, made up of 10 members, has been assigned to conduct "a study on the legacy of slavery in Boston and its impact on descendants today," engage with the community to understand residents' "lived experience," and then make a list of recommendations "for reparative justice solutions for Black residents."

The Boston People's Reparations Commission is not directly affiliated with the task force, asserting on its website that "we can not (sic) rely on the city solely for justice." Still, the group certainly seems eager to contribute to the task force's work.

"Our mission is simple: to explore anti-Black histories, interrogate existing anti-Black oppression on the local level and offer viable reparations models and paradigms in the interest of universalizing social justice directed toward the Beloved Community," the website claims.

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →