Black Voters Matter launches a reparations fund to help close the racial wealth gap
Atlanta, Georgia - Black Voters Matter (BVM) is launching a reparations fund in an effort to close the US' racial wealth gap, the voting rights group announced on Tuesday.
The Black Reparations Fund initiative, part of BVM's We Won't Black Down campaign, is designed to support grassroots organizations working to establish local reparations task forces and hold them accountable to Black communities.
BVM will be awarding grants totaling $150,000 to groups campaigning to address the racial wealth gap and generations of disenfranchisement, with an additional $50,000 in support for in-kind services. The first grantees have already been selected in Asheville, North Carolina, and Boston, Massachusetts – two cities with their own reparations task forces.
The creation of the fund comes as Republican-controlled state legislatures have targeted the teaching of Black history in public education and sought to limit Black political representation through suppressive voting laws and redistricting maps. Meanwhile, Black Americans continue to suffer disproportionately from predatory policing, mass incarceration, and structural discrimination in employment, education, housing, and health care.
Despite a growing demand to tackle these disparities at their root, Congress has so far failed to pass HR 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, while President Joe Biden has ignored calls to enact a commission via executive order.
Black Voters Matters isn't waiting for federal action on reparations
The Black Reparations Fund is intended to continue the momentum behind reparative justice at the local level, even as federal action remains stalled.
"The time is now to explore the possibilities of what reparations could be for Black people," BVM Co-founder and Executive Director Cliff Albright said in a press release.
"The call for action is urgent as white supremacy grows and diverse voices are pushed out of public classrooms, Black homeownership rates decline, and student loan forgiveness and affirmative action are at risk. Underinvestment in Black communities must be addressed with urgency," he continued.
"BVM supports the ideas that advance the closing of the racial wealth gap in Black communities. Ideas that put us in a position to thrive, not just survive. Waiting for a federal response is no longer an option."
BVM is scheduled to host an official launch of the reparations fund on June 28 at 6:00 PM EDT.
Cover photo: ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP