As Friends Meetings initiate conversations about how to address racism, a number have looked into how their communities might make reparations. Two meetings, Trenton and Green Street have taken action. The story below shares the path Green Street Friends are now on. It has been a multi-year discernment process done under the stewardship of a reparations committee. For the Green Street Meeting, the project represents a deep spiritual commitment, and they feel that by working in relationship with Black Germantown residents their community is being enlivened. The committee has submitted much of the content for this report, and a list of committee members’ names follows the report along with ways to learn more about the project.
How Green Street Friends started the reparations project
Green Street Meeting first established a reparations committee three years ago. Their work led to a decision in May of 2021 to commit to devoting “$50,000/year for a total of $500,000 over ten years toward reparations for the Black community of Germantown.”
The work is held by Black members of the reparations committee in consultation with Black members and attenders of the meeting.
The committee has both authority and responsibility for determining priorities in developing program and allocating reparations monies. The committee feels “this is a beginning” and hope that others who learn of the project will “feel called to support” it.
Green Street reparations will fund free legal clinics
Members of the the Green Street committee see reparations as “economic and spiritual repairs for the intergenerational harms of slavery, Jim Crow, and their afterlives.” They believe, “it is spiritual work intended to address the theft and pillaging of Black wealth for 400 years. For 2022, our project, free legal clinics for Black Germantown homeowners, is about protecting and securing Black wealth and redistributing Green Street Meeting’s resources to help stabilize Black homeownership. We hope it is one step on our pathway to offer and work for reparations to and with the Black Germantown community.”
The committee plans to host four to six legal clinics for Black Germantown homeowners in the 19138 and 19144 zip codes. Their intent is to “help stabilize local Black families, preserve Black wealth, and mitigate displacement from gentrification.” The committee has generated publicity by “circulating a flyer to likely participants in the clinics,” and they invite Friends’ support. They note: “we have created a reparations fund as a meeting and hope … others might join us in deepening the impact to secure Black wealth in Germantown (and elsewhere where you are as well) and promote reparations in the coming year.”
The clinics will be featuring “pro bono legal (real estate and estate) services, notary services, and assist with fees for related legal filings, taxes, and other needs that may emerge.” The four-hour sessions are scheduled for January to May of 2022, and are to be held on the 3rd Saturday. The Reparations Committee plans a closing event on June 19, 2022, that will also embrace a Juneteenth celebration.
Members of the committee are: Afroza Hossain, Anne Bayless, Eppchez Yes, Gabbreell James, Lucy Duncan, Marille Thomas, Sharon Mullally, and Viv Hawkins.
Friends seeking inspiration from this powerful work and additional publicity should download the reparations program flyer.
To get involved, or seek additional information about reparations programming and funding, please email the committee at email@example.com
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Green Street Meeting