Let the year of Jubilee begin. Let’s talk about Reparations.

The issue of reparations for Black Americans has been a topic of significant debate in the United States for many decades. The idea behind reparations is to compensate descendants of enslaved Africans for the atrocities and injustices inflicted upon their ancestors. While some argue that reparations are unnecessary or too difficult to implement, there is a compelling case to be made for why the United States should consider paying reparations to Black Americans.

One of the main reasons for reparations is to address the legacy of slavery and racial discrimination that continues to impact Black Americans to this day. Slavery in the United States lasted for over 200 years and its effects can still be seen in the present day, with Black Americans facing higher rates of poverty, lower life expectancy, and disproportionate rates of incarceration, among other disparities. Reparations would help to acknowledge the deep-seated harm that was done to Black Americans and their ancestors, and take a meaningful step towards rectifying this wrong.

According to Thomas Craemer, a University of Connecticut researcher, By calculating the number of hours all men, women and children enslaved in the United States worked from 1776, multiplied by average wage prices at the time, and finally assessing a compounding interest rate of 3 percent per year to overcompensate for inflation over the last 200+ years, the most fiscally fair estimate to date of what reparations for slavery could cost is between $5.9 trillion and $14.2 trillion.

That would be a huge investment into the future of our nation, and admittedly it would be difficult to figure out how to do this. But imagine the benefits. It doesn’t necessarily have to be money, we should explore scholarships, tax benefits, economic incentives aimed at flourishing. At the very least it should be discussed, because this isn’t a ‘handout’, it is what this Country owes for its “original sin” of slavery.

There remain families in our Country that continue to benefit from the residual wealth that resulted initially from institutionalized slavery. White normative culture also continues to benefit from the systemic racism, and economic systems of wealth perpetuation that were established early in our Nation that unfairly inflicts harm on people of color. Also as a result of slavery, generational poverty is perpetuated in large swaths of the black community.

I’m amazed that so many are unsupportive of our government to simply consider this issue. Germany paid reparations to the families of victims of the Holocaust, South Africa made reparations for institutionalized apartheid.

The United States should explore how this could be accomplished in light of two hundred and fifty years of slavery, ninety years of Jim Crow, sixty years of separate but equal, and thirty five years of racist housing policies for African Americans. Not to mention the issues of mass incarceration and police brutality against people of color. Would this be a difficult issue? Would it be complex? Yes. But so was going to moon. We do it, because it is right, and as Americans we do not shy away from hard things, to echo JFK.

Another reason to consider reparations is to address the ongoing economic inequality that exists between Black and white Americans. Despite the progress that has been made in recent decades, Black Americans still earn significantly less than their white counterparts and are more likely to live in poverty. This economic disparity can be traced back to slavery and the systemic racism that has followed, making reparations a necessary step towards creating a more equal society.

Reparations could also help to promote healing and reconciliation between Black and white Americans. By acknowledging the harm that was done to Black Americans and working to rectify it, reparations would be a powerful symbol of the commitment to justice and equality. This could help to build trust and foster a sense of shared responsibility for creating a more just society, which would benefit all Americans, regardless of race.

Finally, reparations would serve as a recognition of the vital role that Black Americans have played in the building and development of the United States. Slaves were forcibly brought to America and were treated as property, but despite this, they were instrumental in building the country’s economy and infrastructure. Reparations would be a way to acknowledge the immense contributions that Black Americans have made to the country, and to right the wrongs of the past.

There are many compelling reasons why the United States should consider paying reparations to Black Americans. From addressing the legacy of slavery and racial discrimination, to promoting healing and reconciliation, to acknowledging the vital role that Black Americans have played in building the country, reparations would be a step towards creating a more equal and just society for all.

Let the years of Jubilee begin.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Isaiah 61) quoted by Jesus in Luke 4.

May the followers of Christ proclaim the same message.

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