Can we talk about reparations? No, really, can we talk about reparations? Not tomorrow. Not four years from now. Not 400 years from now. Today. And everyday, for 365 days.
rep·a·ra·tion: the making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged.
We at JACK -- our non-profit arts space in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn -- are looking to kickstart a national conversation on reparations. We’re going to start right here at home. Your tax-deductible support gives life to Reparations365: From Memory To Movement, a year-long series exploring distributive justice for Black Americans. The series includes performances, workshops and discussions in Brooklyn with the potential to inspire this dialogue nationwide.
The goals of the series are to increase awareness and deepen the knowledge of reparations movements, to explore the “why,” the “how,” and the “what’s next?” for reparations in the United States, and to explore ways to become involved, individually or as part of a group, in next steps.
WHY THIS? WHY NOW?
The transatlantic slave trade has forever shaped the lives of global peoples in systematic and personal ways. Millions of Africans and their descendants have experienced trauma to their bodies, minds, hearts, homes, families, work...their lives as a result of the atrocities inherent to the design and execution of the slave trade. Those who participated loudly, quietly, actively and absently in the systematic enslavement of African peoples and the economy rooted in their degradation and denunciation have exponentially benefited and accumulated an extraordinary debt.
The topic of reparations for Black Americans, for past and current injustices, has gained renewed attention recently in America and abroad. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2014 article in The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations” was widely distributed, shared and acclaimed. Last year, Georgetown University just announced plans to compensate descendants of enslaved persons that it sold to bolster its wealth nearly two hundreds years ago. Further, the Movement for Black Lives included a call for reparations in its platform. Also this past year, the United Nations expert group on People of African Descent called for the United States to address the legacy of slavery through reparations. Questions, debates and energy involving the issue seem resurgent, and momentum towards action is brewing.
JACK’s decision to programmatically commit to reparations for a full year was in motion well before the recent U.S. presidential election. Now, in the aftermath of this divisive campaign, the idea of U.S. reparations feels both absolutely improbable and absolutely necessary.
The series has expansive implications that reflect JACK’s desire to contribute to the co-creation of a more just society, and to offer our space for conversation and imagination about how to get there. JACK is situated in a diverse neighborhood among other diverse neighborhoods – all of which are rich with Blackness and have varying degrees of trials, tensions and triumphs concerning black humanity, displacement, legacy and self-determination. This and many other factors affirm that the reparations series is well suited to our beloved Brooklyn, timely, and relevant.
We hope that through this series, participants will:
- Examine past and current proposals for distributive and transformative justice.
- Imagine together what reparations could look like and feel like on a local and national level.
- Dialogue and connect with others about topics such as white privilege, reparations, and Black self-determination.
- Discover and follow through on ways to participate in direct action related to reparations.
Reparations365 is a unique opportunity for us to create, witness, and contribute to an experience that has the potential to shape future steps toward transformative and distributive justice in the United States.
COMPONENTS of Reparations365
Public Offerings - The series will feature scholars, artists, activists, and consist of a minimum 12 public offerings of diverse genres, such as: dance / movement / theater / music installations, panel discussions, community conversations, interactive workshops and artist residencies.
People’s Think Tank - a pop-up research and advocacy group that will act as the curators, keepers, and synthesizers of the series’ research content. Their process has the potential to cultivate a seed of a community-developed path to reparations.
Series Ambassadors - A circle of community accountability partners.
Advisors – Experts in the field of distributive justice who can provide guidance for the series.
Community Curation – Members of our community that contribute ideas of programming around these themes.
EVENTS CURRENTLY PROGRAMMED
MARGUERITE HEMMINGS: to make ready again -- February 2 - 3, 2017 at 8 pm. Hemmings presents the latest piece in her multimedia endeavor ‘we free,’ a series that focuses on what liberation means for the millennial generation. Hemmings describes to make ready again (referring to the etymology of the word “reparation”) as “a non-performance. . . a call to a very very very obvious collective action.”
COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: Why reparations? -- Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7 pm
COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: What would reparations look like? --Monday, March 20 at 7 pm
THE WORK OF IMAGINING: ART IN THE AGE OF 'APOCALYPSE': Sunday, May 28, 2017. Time: To Be Determined. Choreographer and educator Jesse Phillips-Fein and scholar and writer Shanté Paradigm Smalls join forces to co-curate a multi-genre exploration that asks us to wonder, witness, and explore..."What do you do and make when the world you imagined you lived in goes away? How do we live, create, and think about the world in the middle of another 'apocalypse'? How might we imagine the end of the world as a possibility and an opening? What are the ways art, performance, theory, discourse, argument, and community-building might shift and expand our political and social imaginations?
Why Invest in Reparations365?
This series is a collaborative endeavor. Your investment yields resources for the public offerings, increased capacity and people power.
Invest in our process and our people. The series project team is primarily comprised of: JACK Co-Directors Alec Duffy and DeeArah Wright, Think-tank leaders, Series producer, and Curator Carl Hancock Rux--poet, playwright, essayist, novelist, and recording artist.
Invest in our and your next steps in towards transformative justice.
Your support goes to:
Artists/speakers/workshop leaders, Curating and producing team, Documenting the events, Administrative overhead
A SPECIAL THANKS
Shout-Out to the following featured folks from our campaign video:
Brian Polite | Dancer. Writer.
Courtney Harge | Producing Artistic Director, Colloquy Collective.
Tunu Thom | The Artist Mommy.
Kirya Yvonne Traber | Writer. Performer. Cultural Worker. AND
To the other thoughtful individuals that we gathered on November 21, 2016 and January 23, 2017 to explore reparations--essential questions, triggers, insights, and input towards shaping the series...
And to Steven Leffue, who designed our Reparations365 logo!
Thank You! You helped set a tone for excellence, accountability, and authenticity for Reparations365...Onward!
Risks and challenges
The project is already underway, with help from two small grants from Humanities New York and New York State Council on the Arts. This Kickstarter ensures that we are able to realize the series at the optimal level.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)