For Release: July 2002
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 or Project21@nationalcenter.org
Americans are sharply divided over proposals for the U.S. government to pay reparations to blacks as part of an apology for the once-legal practice of slavery. To help people understand more about the reparations debate, the African-American leadership network Project 21 has created the "Reparations Information Center" on the organization's Internet web site.
Project 21's Reparations Information Center, an information clearinghouse that attempts to cover all aspects and viewpoints of the reparations debate, can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.nationalcenter.org/Reparations.html.
"Who qualifies for reparations? Do recipients even need to be American? Would a cash payment overcome the pain inflicted by slavery, even though there are no slaves or immediate children of slaves still alive? Should present-day Americans of all races foot the bill for the actions of long-dead people over a hundred years ago? These are but a few of the valid and perplexing questions raised by calls for reparations," said Project 21 Director David Almasi. "Project 21 members hope that this balanced selection of essays and articles will educate people so they can make informed decisions about whether our government should commit to paying out reparations."
Project 21 members are outspoken on the issue of the government paying out reparations, and many are available for media interviews. Here are the views of three Project 21 members:
* Kimberley Jane Wilson (Washington, DC) - "This sounds like a big, messy bureaucratic nightmare. No amount of apologies and no amount of cash can wash away the sin of slavery. Giving me a check as 'compensation' for the agony of my ancestors trivializes their suffering. I feel uneasy at the thought of making a profit from that suffering."
* Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson (Los Angeles, California) - "Reparations are divisive, evil and unfair to Americans who had nothing to do with slavery at all. The idea of reparations is another means for some to use blacks to gain power and wealth. That's why we must stop reparations now."
* Michael King (Atlanta, Georgia) - "Not a single slave
remains alive to take advantage of any sort of 'reparations' that
would be paid out to atone for the sins of our nation's forefathers.
Not only that, the United States as a nation has no business subsidizing
yet another shakedown scam by the Jesse Jacksons of the world."
Project 21 has been a leading voice in the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact Chris Burger or David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's web site at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.