For Release: August 15, 2002
Contact: Chris Burger or David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 or Project21@nationalcenter.org
Paying African-Americans reparations now for the long-outlawed practice of slavery is the topic of a rally scheduled for August 17 in Washington, DC. Member of the African-American leadership network Project 21 oppose the notion that black Americans can only be made whole through monetary compensation, and assert that government interference in the lives of African-Americans has already done more harm that good.
"It's absurd to suggest that reparations will cure the ills of people in inner cities across the country," said Project 21 member Ak'bar Shabazz. "More attention should be given to issues that actually will have an long-term impact within the community."
Organizing for the August 17 event began after activists attending the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance decided a rally would provide momentum to the reparations movement. Supporters such as Dr. Conrad W. Worrill of the National Black United Front want taxpayers (none of whom were alive to participate in the slave trade) to "repair" black Americans. Reasons cited for paying reparations, according to Dr. Worrill, consist of everything from slavery and Jim Crow laws to the existence of the Ku Klux Klan to the assassinations of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the problem of drugs in the black community. In a June 7 commentary, he proclaimed that the 13th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution - which outlawed slavery and acknowledged civil rights for all Americans - are a "scam." August 17 is the 115th anniversary of the birth of Marcus Garvey, who promoted black nationalism and repatriation to Africa in the early 20th century.
Project 21 members believe paying reparations would be logistically impossible, and add that such payments would not heal the ills of the black community. Existing government programs have had a devastating effect on black America by promoting single-parent families and out of wedlock births.
To help people learn more about the reparations and make their own judgement on the issue, Project 21 created the Reparations Resource Center. Located at http://www.nationalcenter.org/Reparations.html, one can find commentaries, news and legal information regarding all facets and viewpoints related to the reparations debate.
"Not a single person directly affected by slavery remains
alive," noted Project 21 member Michael King. "While
the race warlords go out of their way to create emotional combat
between the races, black America falls further behind in important
areas - politically, educationally, economically. For those of
us who tell the truth about what the poverty pimps are doing with
reparations to further divide the nation are attacked, we are
denounced and marginalized as the remainder of black America marches
blindly and lemming-like toward the abyss.
Project 21 has been a leading voice in the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact Chris Burger or David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's web site at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.