We’re launching a new series on the reparative economy. And we need your help!

Instead of a system that puts profit over people and the planet, we need to build an economy that prioritises repair and healing

Laura Basu Aaron White
18 June 2021, 9.41am

On 19 June 1865, Gordon Granger, a Union general during the American Civil War, rode into Texas to inform slaves that they were free. In the US, this date is known as ‘Juneteenth’ and it is widely celebrated as emancipation day.

However, 156 years later, the descendants of enslaved and colonised people still face racial oppression in the US and around the world. Despite the global racial justice protests last summer – sparked by the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor – the underlying system of racial capitalism and state violence hasn’t gone away.

Racial inequity is perpetrated by an economic system that divides people according to their nationality, their wealth and the colour of their skin – and disproportionately leaves Black and brown communities on the front lines of every crisis, from climate change to COVID-19.

But in the wake of COVID-19, there is an opportunity to redesign our economic paradigm into one that fundamentally values Black and brown lives.

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As Dr. Ron Daniels and Rev. Ronnie Galvin wrote nearly a year ago: “We need to design and bring into being an economy in which repair is a natural and reflexive impulse embedded in its operating system.”

They call this the reparative economy.

The reparative economy seeks redress for centuries of harm, and goes beyond financial compensation by tackling the root causes of inequality and exploitation. It prioritises repair and healing over profit; lays the foundation for democratic and sustainable alternatives; and puts power in the hands of everyone, rather than the wealthy few.

The task is not a new one. Movements from Hoima in Uganda to Jackson, Mississippi in the US are establishing new ways of being that prioritise caring for each other and our planet.

Today, we are launching a new series to explore the reparative economy. We invite contributors from around the world to hash out this new economic paradigm together, share expertise, and highlight local models from around the world.

We are looking to grapple with difficult questions. What is owed to whom? What do comprehensive reparative policy agendas entail on local and global scales? What does it mean, in practice, to embed repair and healing into a new economy?

If you would like to contribute to this series, please email: [email protected].

And please do share and spread this video narrated by Tricia Rose, animated by Ermina Takenova, and inspired by Rev. Galvin and Dr. Daniel’s article on the reparative and democratic economy.

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