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The Peoples Reparations Commission says churches should "stop lying" and pay up.

Boston Reparations Commission demands White churches pay

The Boston Task Force on Reparations is demanding “White churches” to compensate Black Bostonians for transatlantic slave trade-related racial injustices, the Boston Globe reports.

A 2022 Boston City Council legislation established the 10-member panel. In February they asked for the City of Boston to “write checks” for $15 billion, an amount that is three-times the city’s annual budget.

The Globe obtained a letter from the group asking churches to support new financial institutions “in Black Boston” and affordable housing in addition to financial donations.

The letter, issued Saturday by sixteen religious leaders, requests restitution cash from various Boston churches.

Rev. John E. Gibbons of Arlington Street Church says churches should “stop the lying, tell the truth and pay what is owed.” He also said at the Saturday press conference that other churches are investigating their past and discussing restitution.

Others were less strident in their comments.

“We call sincerely and with a heart filled with faith and Christian love for our White churches to join us and not be silent around this issue of racism and slavery and commit to reparations,” Rev. Kevin Peterson said.

“We point to them in Christian love to publicly atone for the sins of slavery and we ask them to publicly commit to a process of reparations where they will extend their great wealth — tens of millions of dollars among some of those churches — into the Black community,” he said.

It was delivered to King’s Chapel in downtown Boston, Old South Church, Trinity Church, and Arlington Street Church in Back Bay, sources said. Peterson says all four churches were founded in the 17th and 18th centuries.

It could be a tough sell. The churches are aging and have few, if any, members who can trace their roots to members of the early slave era. For example, Old South Church was organized in 1669.

As for the Atlantic slave trade, 4-6% were brought to what is now the United States. The vast majority went to the West Indies and South America. It is estimated that just over 300,000 individuals came to the British colonies and then then the new United States.

Still, the group thinks someone ought to pay.

Gibbons considers that insufficient. “Somehow we need to move with some urgency toward action and so part of what we’re doing is to prod and encourage white churches to go beyond what they have done thus far.”

Senior priest Rev. Joy Fallon says King’s Chapel is building a memorial to enslaved people and starting a fund for social justice and peace. That congregation was also established nearly 350 years ago in the 1660s.

The Globe reported last year that the church conducted research that discovered 219 clergy and members owned 219 people at time when it was common and legal and fueled by the British empire before the Revolutionary War after which most New England churches became anti-slavery.

At a February committee press conference, Peterson demanded full monetary reparations from the city for profits and lives lost due to systematic racism and enslavement against Black people.

Peterson said five billion would be given to Black Bostonians, five billion invested in new Black-owned financial institutions, and five billion utilized to address education and crime disparities.

Peterson stated before the press conference last month that the “debt must be paid in dollars.”

Activists across the nation are pushing for trillions of dollars in reparations.

–Metro Voice and wire services





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