At no other time in history has the demand for a global black identity been more apparent. Identifying how slavery, colonialism, and racism intersect and impact the lives of black people across the world is therefore critical to demanding reparations, fostering healing, and restoring dignity. It is against this backdrop that we are convening this global summit in Accra, Ghana.
The murder of George Floyd, and the protests that followed, triggered global conversations on systemic racism and reparations for slavery and colonialism. The incident also changed some of the contents and dynamics of the discourses and perspectives on reparations for mass historical crimes. It further ignited a process that is intended to revive rigorous global and continental campaigns, and revamped advocacy on reparations for historical crimes. Political leaders from various parts of the world have expressed renewed commitments to addressing the legacies of the slave trade, slavery, colonialism and other forms of imperial subjugation. The debates and demands for reparative justice are beginning to move beyond rhetoric and academics. The imperative for a continuation of co-creating a legacy of racial justice and collective healing for Africans and People of African Descent has become more pronounced.
In Africa, ongoing continental campaigns and discussions that had been stalled have been revived, albeit incongruently. The African Union (AU) for instance, has become more vocal in its demand for restitution for stolen African religious symbols and cultural relics, as well as a recognition of the African diaspora community in the advocacy for reparations. Through its various organs such as the Departments of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (DPAPS), Citizens and Diaspora Directorate (CIDO), Economic Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), the AU has undertaken a series of initiatives to reach a common position on Reparations for Africa, and an advocacy campaign on reparations from former slave holders and colonial powers.
But there is a significant gap in this renewed energy for advocacy and political commitments. The discussions and debates, especially those within the African continent are happening in silos. The interventions seem half-hearted, the campaigns appear uncoordinated and there seems to be a lack of comprehensive strategy and agenda for reparations.
WHY A GLOBAL SUMMIT ON
Reparations IN ACCRA?
The summit in Accra is being held to discuss and examine options for addressing the gaps outlined above. With funding support from the John D & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through its (time-bound) Equitable Recovery grants, the summit is being co-hosted by the African Union Commission (AUC), the Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF); The Africa-America Institute (AAI) and Global Black. This summit will serve as an opportunity to leverage on existing initiatives and to bring on board strategic conversations and explore the possibility of harnessing various interests and aspirations from across the globe. The summit in Accra will present an opportunity to holistically discuss and reflect on the legacies of the Transatlantic slave trade, Slavery in the America, colonialism and strategies for reparations and racial healing. It will be both a continuum, as well as a launching point, for renewed and revitalized action toward reparations and racial healing around the world.
Additionally, the Accra summit will seek to create a platform for the unification of a transcontinental plan for reparations. It will also provide an opportunity for various actors on the continent and from the Diaspora to commit to redefining strategy, build bridges and engender trust in the global campaign. Finally, the summit will explore healing approaches from the continent as well as begin a dialogic process that will unpack the role of Africans in the slave trade. It will offer an avenue for defining and agreeing on areas of collective advocacy and will introduce new approaches for racial communal healing and critical reflections to address various harms suffered.
The summit seeks to nurture emergent views and innovative approaches to engaging in cross-continental dialogues with the hopes of co-creating a shared vision and collective capacity for reparative justice and racial healing for Africans and all people of African descent. These convenings will not duplicate the various initiatives and discussions taking place around the world on reparations for the Transatlantic Slave Trade, colonialism, and historical crimes. Instead, it will serve as an opportunity to leverage on existing initiatives, amplify that work, and illuminate opportunities to harness various interests and aspirations. To that end, several objectives and desired outcomes have been identified:
OF THE SUMMIT
1. The reparative justice strand will examine campaign calls and actions for restoration, restitution and justice for atrocity crimes committed during the slave trade, slavery era and colonial periods.
2. The racial healing – building bridges between and within the global Black Diaspora; interrogating the legacy consequences of the slave trade and colonialism and charting a pathway for perpetrators of those harms and crimes to acknowledge and take responsibility for the legacies of the harms inflicted and crimes committed.
PLENARY SESSION THEMES
Making the Evidence-Based Case for Reparations
Freeing Ourselves from the Centuries-Old Lie of White Superiority and Black Inferiority
Individual and community trauma - Unpacking Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome
Return of Stolen African Relics, Symbols and Artifacts: A Path Towards Justice and Repair
The Role of Global System & Structures in Reparatory Justice
Outdoor Healing and Storytelling Session
Jason Craige Harris
Dr. Amara Enyia
Dr. Liliane Umubyeyi
Akwasi Awua Ababi
Dr. Sir Hilary Beckles
Dr. Joy Angela DeGruy
Dr. Ron Daniels
H.E. Amb. Bankole Adeoye
DR. KOLE SHETTIMA
Prof. Darrick Hamilton
Dr. Cheryl Grills
AmbASSADOR Thomas KWESI Quartey
This page contains speeches, statements and other resource materials for the summit. It will be updated on a regular basis.
See you there
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