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Chicago town offers reparations to African Americans – these campaigners want the same for Black Brits

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Could the UK offer reparations to descendants of slaves? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Almost a year ago to the day, a Chicago councilwoman and eight of her peers walked out of their council chamber having made history. Robin Rue Simmons led the first municipal in the United States to win a motion for a government-backed programme of reparations – a payment offered to those who have been wronged. In a move that civil rights activists and anti-racist campaigners before them weren’t able to achieve, Evanston City Council ensured its Black citizens would be compensated for the egregious violence committed against them and their ancestors in times of transatlantic slavery. The money will come from a new income tax levied against newly-legalised marijuana in the state – a sweet justice considering African Americans have been disproportionately policed for potential cannabis possession, often ending up in the clutches of the prison industrial complex.

Could this ever happen in the UK? Could Black Brits achieve their own compensation off the back of fierce anti-racism movements that kicked off in 2020? It’s certainly not outside of the realms of possibility. Elijah Douglas Smith is a British campaigner who petitioned for the government to compensate Caribbean and African descendants of slaves. His petition received a total of 20,000 signatures and Elijah is still pushing to raise awareness for the cause. He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘The idea for the petition was not simply for financial payment regarding outstanding slavery reparations but it was a larger picture push. ‘I wanted to start a national conversation in regards to the horrors of the British Empire that have not been discussed and largely swept under the rug. ‘I set up the petition to start a dialogue amongst the nation, to begin to hold our political class to account. ‘It’s not a fight for Black vs white, rich vs poor, working class vs the wealthy, it’s simply a question of are you for humanity or against,’ he says. ‘If you believe we should stand up for those who are opposed, educate ourselves on our privileges and create opportunities for those from disadvantaged backgrounds then you stand for the betterment of all people.’

 

Robin Rue Simmons – the woman who bought reparations to the U.S (Picture: Jeff Marini)

Almost a year ago to the day, a Chicago councilwoman and eight of her peers walked out of their council chamber having made history.

Robin Rue Simmons led the first municipal in the United States to win a motion for a government-backed programme of reparations – a payment offered to those who have been wronged.

In a move that civil rights activists and anti-racist campaigners before them weren’t able to achieve, Evanston City Council ensured its Black citizens would be compensated for the egregious violence committed against them and their ancestors in times of transatlantic slavery.

The money will come from a new income tax levied against newly-legalised marijuana in the state – a sweet justice considering African Americans have been disproportionately policed for potential cannabis possession, often ending up in the clutches of the prison industrial complex.

Ref: https://metro.co.uk/2020/11/19/chicago-offers-reparations-to-african-americans-can-the-uk-get-it-13451195/?fbclid=IwAR2v84M-Kp8kpF1wWuhQMw00N11sxjHGE3TRO4ZCxAVPTUZSuTr5WjlVTa0