As America marches toward a reckoning with its original sin of slavery the question that everyone is asking is what’s next? Ignited by the energy of our hashtag #ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery) reparations discussions have found new life rooted in data from the Federal Reserve in ways we haven’t seen historically. As I have shown using the most recent Federal Survey of Consumer Finances out of 20 million black families a mere 340,000 of them are worth more than 1.2 million dollars with most of it being in their home. In fact, when looking at the data most black families across this nation are largely wealthless. All while 15% or 13 million white families are worth more than 1.2 million dollars. With a full 1 million white families being worth more than 10 million dollars. These million white families largely control all of America’s privately held resources. This is the gap where we have hidden our nation’s history. One fortified by legacy, and inheritance, and created at the hands of government and private citizens use of race to decide the winners and losers that should have been decided by free trade.
While the #ADOS hashtag started in 2016 with the birth of my show Tonetalks and Yvette Carnell’s Breaking Brown weekly show, the driving force for this reckoning has been fueled by generations of forgotten black families torn apart by American Slavery, Jim Crow and the era of Mass Incarceration that followed. The United States government codifying failure into blackness makes it the government’s obligation to fix what it left so broken. Across the nation Black Americans under the hashtag ADOS realize this point and have galvanized under the banner #ADOS demanding Black Caucus members to make reparations and Black economics theirs cause, demanding black communities get educated on the wealth gap and black politics, and most importantly forcing a presidential debate on reparations of the likes not seen in American history. From Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden who historically has said “I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather, … I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation. And I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.” To Senator Bernie Sanders also running for President who has stated he is against cash payments of reparations to black families that were harmed by slavery. The answers on the presidential campaign to demands for reparations have largely been empty or dismissive. While both Presidential hopefuls Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have spoken very specifically about the harms and theft from black ADOS families, their solutions are largely not in the form of reparations of any sort. Harris has ignored the conversation proposing a LIFT plan that targets the poor with nominal stipends, all while still using the ADOS backdrop to anchor much of her campaign. And Warren has done the same proposing housing and educational loan forgiveness plans that are a form of middle class reparations to White America while leaving large swaths of Black America with nothing.
While there is a rushed hearing upcoming for HR40 the bill to set up a commission for review of Slavery reparations in America, without fortifying #ADOS to energize Black communities to realize the power of their legacy, it’s pointless. We must continue to pressure the presidential candidates to answer two questions ahead of and after any HR 40 commission hearing to make the nation understand the parameters of reparations, and to get clarity on whether Presidential candidates are committed to reparations.
1) Do you understand reparations are owed in the trillions of dollars specifically to #ADOS American Descendants of Slavery?
2) Do you understand and are you committed to distributing this in part in the form of cash payments to those black families that have suffered great harm?
This is a moment in history we have waited on for generations to occur. #ADOS and Black America from Boomers to Millennials are calling on America to cure the harms caused by its original sin slavery and its lasting vestiges.
Antonio Moore is an attorney based in Los Angeles and one of the producers of the Emmy-nominated documentary Freeway: Crack in the System. Moore is a co-founder of #ADOS American Descendants of Slavery. He has contributed pieces to Huffington Post, The Grio, and Inequality.org on the topics of race, mass incarceration, and economics. Follow him on Twitter and YouTube. Full ADOS American Descendants of Slavery Agenda www.ados101.com