This month in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the 2020 Uprisings, the 50th Anniversary of the War on Drugs and Juneteenth the Movement for Black Lives is sponsoring a month of activities focusing on reparations for slavery and its afterlives in the US. What are reparations? Why are we owed reparations? How do we get them?

This month we are making a series of educational offerings to help you better understand reparations, get the skills you need to start local reparations campaigns and support national efforts to pass reparations legislation at the Federal level. 

Each week of June we will be focusing on a different front in the battle for reparations. 


focused on reparations for police violence and white supremacist violence. Click  here to watch our Reparations 101 webinar to learn more about the basics. 


we will focus on reparations for global climate impacts and environmental racism. Join us for a teach-in on climate justice on Wednesday, June 9th.  RSVP here.


will focus on reparations in observance of the 50th Anniversary of the War on Drugs. Join us for a teach-in about decriminalization and reparations on Thursday, June 17th at 5pm est. Please RSVP here.


will focus on reparations for slavery and will advocate for passage of HR40. 


will focus on reparations for economic racism and redlining and will feature an IG Live.

Reparations: The Basics

What Are Reparations?

The reparations framework was developed by the United Nations to address systemic state and state-sanctioned violations of human rights.

In order for reparations to be complete, they must incorporate 5 elements:

  1. Acknowledgement of harm, including official apologies, public education, and memorials;
  2. Compensation for injury and harm, and for lost land, labor, property, relationships, culture, and spirituality;
  3. Restitution, including restoration of victims’ rights, property, and citizenship status; 
  4. Rehabilitation, including psychological and physical support;
  5. Cessation and guarantees of non-repetition, including reforming or eliminating laws and civil and political structures that led to or fueled the harm, including those that continue to do so.

Why Do We Need Reparations?

The economic, cultural, psychological and spiritual impacts of enslavement of African descended people by the U.S. government and U.S. individuals, families, corporations, churches and non-profits, enabled by a legal regime establishing, maintaining and protecting the institution of chattel slavery, are widespread, persistent, and devastating. They require comprehensive and systemic response aimed at acknowledging, memorializing, and redressing past harms, ensuring widespread healing, rehabilitation and restitution, and addressing the continuing and lasting impacts of slavery and its afterlives in the present.

Some of M4BL’s Demands for Reparations:

  1. Legislation at the federal and state level that requires the United States to acknowledge the lasting impacts of slavery and establish and execute a plan to address those impacts. This includes the immediate passage of H.R.40, the “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act,” or subsequent versions which call for reparations remedies.
  2. Reparations for the systemic denial of access to high-quality educational opportunities in the form of full and free access for all Black people (including undocumented and currently and formerly incarcerated people) to lifetime education including: free access and open admissions to public community colleges and universities, technical education (technology, trade, and agricultural), educational support programs, retroactive forgiveness of student loans, and support for lifetime learning programs.
  3. Reparations for the wealth extracted from our communities through environmental racism, slavery, food apartheid, housing discrimination, and racialized capitalism in the form of corporate and government reparations focused on healing ongoing physical and mental trauma, and ensuring our access and control of food sources, housing, and land.
  4. Reparations for the cultural and educational exploitation, erasure, and extraction of our communities in the form of mandated public school curriculums that critically examine the political, economic, and social impacts of colonialism and slavery, and funding to support, build, preserve, and restore cultural assets and sacred sites to ensure the recognition and honoring of our collective struggles and triumphs.
  5. Reparations for the devastating impacts of the “war on drugs” and criminalization, including a reinvestment of the resulting savings and revenue into restorative services, mental health services, job programs, and other programs supporting those impacted by mass criminalization.

Learn more about M4BL’s reparations demands and the difference between reparations and invest/divest in our Reparations Toolkit


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