Reparations Background

Proposals to study reparations have been introduced recently at the local and federal levels:

HR 40, “Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act,” was introduced to the House in January 2019 and to the Senate in April 2019. (DC residents have no voting representation in either House or Senate).

B23-0968, “Reparations Task Force Establishment Act” was was introduced to the DC Council in October 2020.

Below are some resources on the topic:

General on Reparations —

The Movement for Black Lives offers this toolkit

“Reparations for state violence against communities of color” is one of the key points in the Advancement Project’s response to the Breonna Taylor case.

National Coalition of Blacks Reparations

UN General Assembly: Remedy and Reparation

Specific Jurisdictions


State of California: “assembling a colloquium of scholars”

Providence RI: Executive order reparations

Burlington VT: Task force


Ashville NC: Reparations approved

Evanston IL: Marijuana sales used for funding

Chicago, IL: specific apology and payment for police torture of Black individuals

Amnesty USA on Chicago and Illinois torture

Amnesty on accountability

Truthout on implementation

Black Agenda Report’s recent (9/21/20) radio piece on reparations focusing on the 2015 Chicago Reparations Ordinance.

2017 Our Country Was Built on a Stole Beam, by Rabbi Sharon Brous

2018 — “The Torah Case for Reparations” (VERY long)

2020 — “How Teshuvah Can Inform Our Thinking on Slavery and Reparations” — cites Sharon Brous’s sermon as well as the longer 2018 piece (both above)

2020 — Svara: The Traditionally Radical Yeshiva taught from the Jewish text, Babylonian Talmud Gittin 55a, about what we do when a stolen beam is included in a larger building: Do we owe the beam back or the value — for this year’s “Elul Extravaganza.” This packet is mostly for those very dedicated to careful study of Hebrew text, but page 11 here is English: “Movement for Black Lives: We Demand Repair”

NOTE: There are sources that stress connections between Holocaust reparations and Atlantic Slave Trade reparations, NOT linked here.

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