White Supporters of Black Reparations National Conference 2005

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Photo of Deadria Farmer-Paellmann holding CURE's new book, "The Debtors."

White Supporters of Black Reparations National Conference
By Donna Lamb

Caucasians United for Reparations and Emancipation (CURE) held its second annual White Supporters of Black Reparations National Conference late last month in Atlanta, Georgia.

One of the most exciting features of the conference was the launching of CURE’s new anthology, The Debtors: Whites Respond to the Call for Black Reparations, which includes chapters by nine CURE members on a variety of topics regarding reparations. There is, for example a rebuttal by Larry Yates of David Horowitz’s well know attack on reparations, a description by Amy Kedron of what white former indentured servants were given upon completion of their term of servitude in contrast to the barbaric treatment formerly enslaved Africans received, details provided by Dr. Dorothy Blake Fardan about the appalling land swindle of Black farmers, as well as chapters written by an Arab American, Carol Chehade, on the immigrant’s role in reparations and by Molly Secours connecting the dots between legal enslavement and modern day imprisonment. The Debtors contains, too, a history of CURE written by its founder and CEO, Ida Hakim, and some sample interactions taken from CURE’s website where members respond to questions from other white people about reparations. Dorothy Benton Lewis, former Co-Chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA), wrote the book’s foreword.

During the two-day conference, a solid block of time was devoted to discussing how CURE can most effectively use this valuable new tool to reach out to other whites on the issue of reparations and, in general, how the anthology can be used to help propel the reparations movement forward.

The CURE conference was scheduled purposefully to run concurrently with N’COBRA’s 16 th annual conference; therefore, attendees had the opportunity to hear directly from several Black Reparations leaders who imparted information about the variety of approaches to obtain reparations and the varying concepts in the Black community of what reparations should include.

Dorothy Benton Lewis spoke about the many different viewpoints to be found within the coalition of organizations that is N’COBRA. "We don't have a single vision,” she said, “but we do have an agreement that reparations are due. This is about the future that we want to carve out for ourselves.”

Atty. Mawuli Mel Davis told CURE participants about the three tracks of information pursued in that day’s NCOBRA workshops: 1) Resources for Repair, including the healing the injuries brought about by slavery to African men and boys, women and girls and families, 2) Sovereignty and Self-Determination, regarding creating a nation within a nation and 3) Repatriation and Pan African Reparations, about obtaining a self-governed land mass.

Deadria Farmer-Paellmann briefed the conference attendees on how the corporate lawsuits are proceeding and also explained the work of the Organization of Tribal Unity (OTU) that she founded. OTU is urging folks to take DNA tests for comparison to a database of African DNA so they can identify their ethnic heritage.

Kedrick Bellamy focused on the legislative approach to reparations and the need to mobilize sufficient people in the street so the government can no longer ignore them. This will be accomplished, Bellamy said, by asking folks to reconnect with their history so they can see the relevance of reparations to their own lives.

African American scholar and social activist Bob Brown said that reparations is not only for Black people; it’s for all people who have been harmed and need repair. “For me reparations is about revolution,” Brown stated.

Representing Pyramid Enterprises, Azoqq Hakim and Mustafa Saleem expressed their appreciation for CURE’s work and urged the members to continue. “Not every segment of the reparations movement will welcome CURE,” Azoqq Hakim noted. “But don't be discouraged. Just do what you do. The approach of organizing among whites and of being supportive to the Black reparations movement is appreciated.”

Since CURE is a growing, expanding organization, time was also spent focusing on operational matters, including membership development, fundraising, and CURE’s website at www.ReparationsTheCURE.org. There was also a session dealing with issues that can arise when speaking with other whites about reparations, and the best techniques for dealing with them.

Among the many insights gained from the conference were the need for CURE members to give each other support, and also the importance of maintaining a space where white people can deal with reparations as a serious issue, a place where the foundation can be laid for a movement of support that CURE hopes and expects will grow in importance in the years to come. There was also discussion about what CURE is and does at its essence. It was concluded that CURE is holding new ground and helping to prepare the way for thoughts of a just world to take root. CURE provides "thought leadership” and hopefully will assist in making it “normal” for white people to discuss reparations.