Categories: Community Leadership

Activists in Atlanta fight for reparations on July 4

Photo by Raymond Hagans for Steed Media Service

On July 4, 2020, several activists in the Atlanta area will hold a rally to bring awareness to the fight for reparations. Scheduled to be held at Centennial Olympic Park, the rally will feature the Black Agenda Group and activists such as Brother Russell, Domani, Sire from “The Rap Game,” Billionaire P.A., and attorney Gerald Griggs.

Brother Russell recently spoke with rolling out to discuss the rally.

Why was it important to organize this rally?
When we think about the issue of reparations, it’s something that the average African-American does not have any information about. The point of the rally was to educate and empower the youth and your average African-American about reparations. Essentially we wanted to rebrand reparations. We felt it was really important to research the vast issues that are affecting the African-American community. After heavy research, we came to the conclusion that reparations is the most important issue that all African-Americans should get behind. Economic empowerment within the African-American community can solve a lot of the problems that stem from poverty. For example, George Floyd was arrested for allegedly cashing a counterfeit check. Mike Brown was accused of stealing a box of Swisher Sweets. A lot of issues that come from police brutality stem from economics. Poor Black people are usually the victims of police brutality. Economic empowerment will change that situation/power structure.

How can more Black people educate themselves when it comes to reparations?
We are working with NCOBRA [National Coalition of Black for Reparations in America]. We felt it was very important to partner with the experts that have been doing this work for over 20 years. Their website has a wealth of knowledge on the subject of reparations.

Why was it significant to host this rally on July Fourth?
We grow up as African-Americans in the school system that highlights our history starting with slavery. They never teach us about the kings and queens of the motherland. We learn about European and white Americans being heroes, while individuals like Marcus Garvey, Fred Hampton, Mansa Musa, WEB DuBois, and several other powerful figures, do not get the appropriate credit. We are taught to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” and celebrate holidays such as July Fourth, although our ancestors were enslaved when these holidays were established. … The ultimate goal is to have true independence in our own land.

What can be done to ensure that rallies continue and raise awareness of inequalities?
Organizations and Black-owned media companies play a great role in keeping the momentum going and controlling the narrative. Please believe the larger media machine is purposely slowing down coverage of rallies around the country. We have to keep the pressure up! We have to keep posting on social media. We have to keep organizing and mobilizing. Most importantly, we have to continue to have the proper conversations.

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Shaw's latest book, Trap History, delves into the history and global dominance of Trap music. Follow his journey on TrapHistory.Com, Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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