Black people demand a just transition. The underlying philosophy of the global economic system is extraction and exploitation in pursuit of profit. This includes the kidnapping and enslavement of Black people from Africa, and hundreds of years of our unpaid labor, as well as rampant colonialism and postcolonial capitalism. The U.S. is also founded on the exploitation of immigrant labor—a practice that our global economy still depends on today. The U.S. and Global North are responsible for building a system that violently takes and makes profit for the few, without repair, reparations or support in healing from these atrocities for the many. This system has pushed us into a global climate emergency that presents immense challenges that our generation must solve. But beyond that, we have arrived at the make-it-or-break-it moment, in which everyone must act collectively to transform our world on behalf of our connected global humanity and survival.
Over the past 400 years, since the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and accelerated by the Industrial Revolution, we have been pushing our planet toward the edge of the cliff. Globally, we are in such deep debt, pain, and conflict, yet so little of it is created by Black people. The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population continue to pursue increasingly consolidated wealth and power at the top. Meanwhile, 80% of our people are starving, dying, and struggling to feed their families. Reparations are one way we can generate economies and build wealth in ways that don’t harm our communities, but rather, strengthen and heal our people and land.
Now is the time to reverse the generational tide of the extractive economy and to replace it with restorative reinvestment in Black communities toward the next generation of non-extractive finance, living-wage jobs, and sustainable infrastructure. A transformation of our economy is the basic level of what is required to ensure equity across different types of labor and throughout the globe.
Climate reparations for Black people require truth, reconciliation, and alignment with the following demands.
The Black Hive @M4BL Demands:
- A just transition from extractive economies toward a sustainable future
- The immediate cessation of environmental and related economic harm, the restoration of land, and investment in Black communities, with proportional investment of capital stolen from Black labor compounded with interest
- Establishment of easily accessible resources for cultural healing of trauma impacts to Black physical and mental health
- Black community control over preservation of natural resources, while honoring and respecting the rights of our Indigenous family
- Access to and control of food production sources, adequate and climate-resilient housing, restored and healthy land, clean air, and clean water for Black communities
- Restorative, retroactive, and enforced environmental legislation that protects Black health in this new climate reality
- Acknowledgment of ongoing harm from the perpetrators to the victims
- Reparation for stolen land and labor—Indigenous land must be returned to Indigenous peoples; the vast amounts of wealth extracted from Black communities and Black labor must be paid by the companies, institutions, and governments that benefited from generations of unpaid labor and profit
- Direct financial compensation in the form of money and real investments in community development, education, workforce opportunities, and trauma-informed services; as well as further enactment of debt cancellation for Black people from the Global South to the Gulf South
- Rehabilitation for Black communities, beginning with taking stock of the harm in our bodies from wage theft, physical and emotional abuse, systems of toxic exposure, sacrifice zoning, and underinvestment; subsequently addressing that harm through free training, therapy, decarceration, and support, which will mean spending more money on community investments rather than militarization through police, incarceration, and weapons
- Satisfaction of economic and civic disenfranchisement; a guarantee and an enforceable promise from polluting industries and our government to use the full force of law to stop the harm and keep slavery, Jim Crow, unequal access to social programs, and state-sanctioned violence from being used against our community ever again
- Tangible support from the U.S. and Global North, in the form of actions to secure loss-and-damages (climate reparations) funding from the wealthiest nations through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); as the world’s largest historical perpetrators of climate harms, the U.S. and Global North must cease interference and delay, and make good on their obligation to advocate and demonstrate support for the Global South’s demands for climate reparations—which, like reparations for slavery and colonialism, must be addressed through tangible financing rather than any false promises of loans, aid, dialogues, or forums