Charting Your Path

Each person’s path to reparations is unique. Need a map?

Here is an approach that may work for you. Or, create your own.

  • Explore America's history with a new lens:

    Much of America's history is not reflected in our textbooks; explore the 400 Years of Inequality Timeline to learn more about the history, ingenuity, pain and resilience of African Americans from 1619 to today. Where does your family's history fit in?

  • Research your family’s heritage:

    Explore the many genealogy sites; choose one and begin to trace your roots. Look for signs and records of slaveholding and DNA connections to people of color. Equally important, look for ways your family may have participated in Jim Crow, or may even currently participate in behaviors that are damaging to African Americans.  How can we begin to reverse the damage?

  • Document and share your family’s history:

    African Americans face many challenges in researching their own family history. Records before 1870 are often entangled in this country's heritage of enslavement - our own family records may even hold the key to helping an African American family trace its own heritage.  Many emotions can surface as you research; keep a journal or log of your experiences and discoveries. Consider writing an account of your family's history. Commit to repatriating records of slaveholding to black genealogical sites as you find them.

  • Learn about racial justice:

    Begin to read books on racial justice: Join a racial justice book group, or read from the selection of books on this portal. Begin to understand the multiform effects of institutional racism.

  • Join Coming To The Table:

    Join with others on the path to disrupting institutional racism. Connect with both the descendants of enslavers and the descendants of the enslaved.

  • Attend a racial healing group:

    Listen to African American perspectives on racism. Learn to identify and transform your own racist thinking and behaviors. Explore the path of healing together.

  • Invite more people of color into your life:

    Ultimately, unwinding racism is about being in relationship with people of color. How many people of color are among your ten best friends? Invite your African American neighbor over for coffee and see what happens.

  • Focus on "being" rather than "doing:"

    White people tend to act without understanding the impact of our actions.  Learn to be aware of your impact.  Gradually shift your awareness to reduce harm to people of color.

  • Review the many ways of engaging in repair:

    Intentionality, time and money. We all have at least one way to engage in repair. Explore the examples on this portal. Consider your family’s giving history and your own special talents and interests.

  • Find your special path to making reparations:

    There may be no absolution, but there is right intent. Choose your path. Let’s begin to make amends.

In making reparations, we begin the process of healing ourselves, of making ourselves whole.