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  • Writer's pictureKaren Brittingham-Edmond

Reparations and Resource Allocation: Balancing Priorities in Contemporary Society

June 7, 2024

Relaunched Echo Soap Box/Media Monitoring Report

Kamm Howard is widely recognized for his extensive work as a reparations scholar and activist at both national and international levels. His recent report, "Reparations United’s Defense of Evanston’s Restorative Housing Program per the National Negro Press Association," published on May 30, 2024, has been generating significant feedback from Black communities throughout the nation. The report focuses on a court case pertaining to the Restorative Housing Program in the city of Evanston.

About Kamm Howard

Kamm Howard, National Co-Chair, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, is a Chicago businessman and real estate investor. His impact is tangible, having owned and managed over 100 residential units in the Englewood, Auburn Gresham, Washington Park and Roseland communities. His influence extends beyond residential units, as he currently owns retail and office spaces that house the businesses of 17 Black entrepreneurs in the Roseland community. Kamm's international recognition for his reparations work is a testament to the significance of his contributions. In 2014, he was invited to speak on the “new paradigm of reparations activism” at the 8th Pan African Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. That same year, he also presented in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the same subject.

In 2016, Howard was crucial in organizing the United States visit of the United Nations Working Group of Experts for People of African Descent. He co-led their visit to Chicago, which the Working Group hailed as the most organized visit they had globally. Thanks to Kamm's leadership and focus on making reparations the primary issue during the UN visit, the resulting United Nations report began its recommendations by urging the United States to address its centuries of gross human rights violations against people of African Descent and to engage this community with reparations. Nationally, Kamm has been a member of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) for 16 years. N'COBRA, founded in 1987, is the longest-running active organization advocating for reparations in the US. Kamm has chaired the Legislative Commission for 12 years and worked closely with US Congressman John Conyers. Congressman Conyers first introduced a federal reparations bill, known as HR 40, in 1989 and continued to do so until his departure from Congress in 2018.

The issue surrounding the lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation against Evanston, Illinois, has sparked significant debate and contention. The lawsuit challenges the city's approach to reparations by targeting the Restorative Housing Program (ERHP), which is designed to address historic discrimination. Some individuals, including the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, argue that the use of race as an eligibility requirement for the program is discriminatory and unconstitutional. They contend that the program's focus on race-based reparations is inherently unfair and does not align with principles of equal treatment under the law.

On the other hand, proponents of the ERHP (Evanston Restorative Housing Program) and similar initiatives argue that such race-based programs are necessary to rectify the enduring impact of past injustices, particularly systemic discrimination and racial disparities. They emphasize that historical and ongoing societal discrimination has disproportionately affected Black Americans, making targeted reparations essential to address these disparities and promote equity.

Those who do not agree with the race-based reparations program such as Judicial Watch Inc, often express concerns about potential reverse discrimination, the constitutionality of such programs, and the broader implications for governmental policies and resource allocation. The debate surrounding these issues reflects deep-seated divisions and differing perspectives on addressing historical injustices and promoting equality in contemporary society.

The concept of "reparations for all people of color and not just African Americans" is a topic that elicits a range of perspectives and opinions. Below are some common pros and cons associated with the argument per a "reverse discrimination " perspective:

Pros of arguing against reparations for only Black citizens in North America:

1. Raises awareness: The notion of reverse discrimination draws attention to the complexities of addressing historical injustices and promoting equity for all. It prompts discussions about the need for fair and inclusive policies.

2. Critical analysis: It encourages a deeper examination of the impact and implications of affirmative action and race-based programs on non-Black American individuals, immigrants, and communities, fostering a more varied understanding of equality and fairness.

3. Legal scrutiny: The debate on reparations should extend beyond Black Americans who were subjected to chattel slavery. By drawing attention to the unjust categorization of Black citizens as non-human based on their skin color, it underscores the need to assess the constitutionality and legal ramifications of policies that consider race in decision-making, thereby promoting thorough legal scrutiny and analysis on before mentioned categorization of African American citizens.

Cons of arguing against reparations for only Black citizens in North America:

1. Undermines genuine discrimination: Critics argue that the concept of reverse discrimination may detract attention from genuine instances of discrimination experienced by Black citizens, potentially minimizing the urgency of addressing these issues.

2. Polarizing effect: The discussion of reverse discrimination can polarize public opinion and exacerbate tensions, leading to a contentious and emotionally charged debate that may hinder progress toward genuine equality and justice for Black citizens.

3. Misinterprets intent: Some argue that the notion of reverse discrimination misinterprets the intent behind affirmative action and similar programs, which aim to address historical and systemic inequities rather than perpetuate discrimination.

It's important to note that the discussion of reverse discrimination is multifaceted and complex, encompassing a broad array of social, legal, and ethical considerations. Different stakeholders may hold differing views on this topic, reflecting the nuanced nature of the debate surrounding affirmative action, reparations, and equality for the American Negro.

Reverse Discrimination Flip Side "Inclusion for All":

For example, individuals who are advocates of insourced or undocumented immigrants of color and are part of the "Sanctuary Movement" may not necessarily frame their experience in terms of "reverse discrimination." Instead, they are more likely to highlight broader issues related to access to resources and social inclusion for all.

From their perspective, being unable to access certain resources and benefits available to American citizens, including those funded by taxes, may be seen as a matter of exclusion and unequal treatment rather than reverse discrimination. They may argue that their lack of access to these resources perpetuates a cycle of marginalization and prevents them from fully participating in society.

It's important to recognize that the experiences and challenges faced by insourced and undocumented immigrants in the context of the Sanctuary Movement are complex and multifaceted. Discussions around immigration policy, social services, and resource allocation often intersect with broader debates about fairness, human rights, and the state's responsibilities toward all individuals living within its borders and not just citizens. These discussions are shaped by legal, ethical, and political considerations that may not easily fit into the framework of reverse discrimination but more so per the diversity argument of inclusion for all.

Wix Gif SNL Skit Featuring Harriet Tubman

From the perspective of some individuals whose families descend from the survivors of American chattel slavery, there may be a range of reactions to the presence of undocumented immigrants who are perceived to have broken federal immigration laws receiving reparations. This reaction can vary widely among different individuals and communities.

Some individuals may express a sense of frustration or resentment, perceiving the presence of insourced plus undocumented immigrants as exacerbating existing challenges and inequities faced by historically marginalized communities, including those whose ancestors endured slavery here in North America. They may view insourced people of color workers, plus unauthorized immigration as a violation of the rule of law. They may believe that resources should be prioritized for addressing the needs of the descendants of American chattel slavery.

Alternatively, others may adopt a more nuanced perspective, recognizing that both Africans from Africa who arrived long after the ending of chattel slavery plus insourced & undocumented immigrants of color and descendants of African American chattel slavery have faced historical injustices and systemic barriers. Instead of framing the situation as a competition for resources, they may advocate for policies and approaches that address the needs of all groups, acknowledging the intersecting factors of race, immigration status, and historical discrimination.

It is crucial to approach these intricate and sensitive conversations with empathy and understanding, while recognizing the diverse perspectives present within communities. It's important to address systemic inequities and historical injustices from various angles. These topics can elicit strong emotions and require thoughtful consideration of their complexities. Regrettably, the advancement of non-Black American minorities in areas such as civil, legal, human, and housing rights, as well as affirmative action, while Black Americans are still grappling with systemic racism, seems to validate the need for prioritizing the dismantling of these barriers.

Proponents of reparations for African Americans argue that the specific historical and ongoing impacts of slavery and Jim Crow laws are unique to these Black citizens and that reparations should, therefore, specifically target African American descendants of enslaved people. They argue that including other people of color or international communities would dilute the intended focus and impact of the reparations.

On the other hand, opponents of this viewpoint contend that the broader system of racial oppression and discrimination has affected a wide range of minority communities, not just African Americans. They argue that excluding other communities from reparations could perpetuate divisions and inequalities among minority groups and that a more inclusive approach could address the intersecting impacts of racism and discrimination on different communities.

A Word From The Echo

Echo News T.V. L.L.C. has picked up where its founder, Mr. William Elijah Rock, left off, advocating for reparations for Black Americans. Prior to his passing, Mr. Rock expressed deep concerns about New Jersey's use of Jim Crow Laws, which hindered the progress of Black citizens in their businesses, land acquisitions, and overall well-being.   

The relaunched Echo has focused on the ongoing struggles in New Jersey, including the desecration of African plus privately Black-owned Church yards and notable Lenni-Lenape & Cherokee burial grounds of Negro citizens. The Cemetery Board of New Jersey, led by Director Cari Fais, a lawyer of Hispanic descent, has been at the center of these issues. Fais has a background in commercial litigation, internal investigations, and white-collar defense, and previously held positions at Friedman Kaplan Seiler Adelman & Robbins LLP and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. She also served on the board of the Latinx Law Students Association. We make it a point to inform the public of such issues plus the non-payment of reparations to Black citizen.

The relaunched Echo would like to remind you about the following text:

"On a side note, the Library of Congress (below link) does not include the continued publishing of The Echo per Mr. Arnold & Leroy Rock's continuation of The Echo Newspaper post the death of their father Mr. William Elijah Rock in 1943."

With that said, what are your views on including other people of color from different countries in potential reparations for the historical and ongoing impacts of slavery in America? Do you believe reparations should specifically target African American descendants of enslaved people, or should they be more inclusive of other minority communities affected by racial discrimination and oppression in and outside of the United States?


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