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.

In Memory of Deon Kay: Pause and Prayer

In response to some requests for “what to do next” specifics, regarding police accountability and transparency and the killing of Deon Kay, here is a set of prayers and study prompts intended for use on or near the 30th day after his funeral — October 24.

Please note, too, that the yahrzeit of Alonzo Smith, killed by Special Police Officers in DC, is Nov. 1. Read testimony of his mother, Beverly Smith, to the DC Council’s Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, 10/15/20. Additional testimony at “More Than a Plaza.”

Beverly Smith, mother of Alonzo, and Natasha Kay, mother of Deon, appreciate all who keep them in thought and prayer.

In addition, this “Yahrzeit Calendar for Police Killings” includes a draft list of people killed by MPD or Special Police in DC in the last five years. Please advise of any omissions.

Here’s a one-page flyer to share.

Please share these resources with Jews in- and outside of Washington DC as well as anyone else who would be interested.

John Brown and Whites Only

Kymone Freeman is co-owner of We Act Radio, which hosts and creates a variety of news and educational programming as well as cultural events. Other projects include a film, “Patriotic Treason: The Story of John Brown,” and the one-man show, “ABMIT [Angry Black Man in Therapy] Whites Only.”

This photo is from a 2015 “ABMIT Whites Only” performance.

One-Man Play, “Angry Black Man in Therapy: Whites Only.”

See also Black LUV Festival and The Nite MJ Died.

Black L.U.V. Festival

Black Luv Festival

Black L.U.V. Festival is a cultural arts and community awareness festival in DC, founded 1997. In addition to annual events, Black LUV Festival mounted a 20-year retrospective art exhibit in 2018 and, in 2020, “The Choice Is Yours” with Mista Lawnge (Black Sheep) and Grammy- nominated Kokayi. See Social Art and Culture or BlackLuvFest on Facebook.

Photo here shows Dick Gregory — (October 12, 1932 – August 19, 2017), may his memory be for a blessing; zichorno livracha (z”l, Jews often write for short) — at the 2007, 10th Anniversary Black Luv Festival.

More Member Activity

Cross River Dialogue members are involved in many advocacy and community-building efforts, locally and nationally. CRD-1 members support one another in our varied and sometimes overlapping work. Not all of us advocate or organize in the same way or on the same side of every issue, however.

The Member Activities page highlights a few member activities/organizations which have not generated controversy among us as well as some of the many media and artistic endeavors of CRD-1 members.

Cross River Struggles shares some of the activity/organizing over which member opinion most strongly diverges.