Credit: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr

There is a national move afoot taking shape on local level and state levels.

Across America, some states, cities and townships are taking serious steps towards creating the framework for delivering reparations to African American descendants of enslaved persons.

Shortly after the 2020 “Summer of George Floyd” Evanston, Ill.; Asheville, N.C.; Burlington, Vt.; Providence, R.I.; and the state of California moved full speed ahead to develop reparation plans.

More recently, as in this year, each Black inhabitant of San Francisco, including those arrested during the blatantly racist “war on drugs,” will receive part of a one-time, lump-sum payment of $5 million from the African American Reparations Advisory Committee—if approved by the city council.

If approved, San Francisco’s initiative would amount to the largest payment of reparations in American history.

“I’m all for reparations for us,” said Houston-area entrepreneur Quentin Collins. “As much sh*t as our people have been through, land stolen, opportunities blocked, lives taken, we deserve all the reparations.”

Collins, however, believes for reparations to become law and be distributed fairly, there has to be a well-thought-out plan.

“Without a plan of action, a standard operating procedure for the dissemination of reparations funds, we’ll be out here looking like that Dave Chappelle skit when Black people got reparations. Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it: it wasn’t pretty.”

Shayla Torez, an Afro-Latina, also believes a plan is critical.

“How long have congressmen been fighting for a reparations bill; feels like forever,” Torez said. “ I think the nuts-and-bolts of whatever plan lawmakers and the community come up with has to be tight, straight, together, or we’ll be waiting for who knows how many more decades.”

Enter Kyle K. Moore, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy.

Moore offers what he believes to be five steps for local governments to create effective, sensible reparations plans for their Black residents.

And he has the educational and professional credentials to seriously consider his suggestions.

Moore studies economic inequality in the frameworks of stratification economics, political economy, and public health. Prior to joining EPI, Moore was a senior policy analyst with the Joint Economic Committee’s Democratic Staff, where he authored reports on economic policy issues centered on race, class, age and gender disparities for use by Members of Congress and the public.

Moore’s research focuses on the intersection between racial economic disparities and health inequity across the life course, with particular focus on “upstream” structural causes of morbidity and mortality differences across race.

In 2019 Moore was a Dissertation Scholar at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Prior to this he worked as a doctoral fellow and research associate with the Retirement Equity Lab at the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. Moore, a Morehouse graduate, is currently a PhD candidate at The New School for Social Research.

In Moore’s blog, “Five principles for making state and local reparations plans reparative,” lays out what he believes to be a practical and doable way to move forward towards national reparations for Black, even if it comes via local and state efforts.

Here are Moore’s five principles/steps:

  1. Sub-federal reparations plans should acknowledge and apologize for the harm done
  2. Sub-federal reparations plans should include material redress to the beneficiaries
  3. Sub-federal reparations plans need to specify what harms are being addressed and who will benefit
  4. Sub-federal reparations plans should not attempt to absolve the federal government in its responsibility to provide redress for its harm
  5. Sub-federal reparations plans should include structural change and a commitment to ongoing vigilance against future racial injustice

Visit Moore’s entire blog on this topic, to learn more, with a detailed explanation of each of his five principles.

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...