Dear Friends and Faith Partners,
I bring you New Year’s greetings from the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (IM4HI). After several months of labor in love, IM4HI has produced a Faith & Reparations Toolkit for our faith and community partners, faith leaders, congregations, and the general public. The Faith & Reparations Toolkit is a timely and valuable document that can be readily utilized. We invite you to employ the toolkit during February, which earmarks the month-long celebration of African American history.
This February, we celebrate with the people whose descendants built this country with blood, sweat, tears, and free labor. An authentic celebration with our Black brothers and sisters requires that all of us, in particular white people, engage in introspection and Truth-telling. In short, we must come to grips with our nation’s ugly past and the silence and capitulation to the perpetual harms inflicted upon the African American community.
An authentic celebration also means that we must act. We must take concrete and substantive actions to repair the harm and atone these past and present injustices. The Faith & Reparation Toolkit recommends ways for congregations, faith leaders, and individuals to start now and move toward mending the past, healing the present, and transforming the future.
As the nation celebrates the national holiday in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we should pause and consider that the promissory note bequeathed to African Americans in the Declaration of Independence is still in default. The US government has made no substantive monetary compensation or investments on the debt owed to African Americans.
To be sure, our black brothers and sisters need a check. However, African Americans cannot wait for a blank check. Nor should they be pacified with empty promises. Now is the time for African Americans’ just due.
The Reparations Toolkit offers practical guidance and resources for religious and faith communities to engage in spiritual reflection for reparative justice that goes beyond writing a check. There is a broader path to repairing the profound harm done to African Americans. This path is grounded in the spirituality and souls of Black folk. After all, reparation is and must be a Spiritual Practice.
Please accept and engage this toolkit as a gift from IM4HI, and one that, hopefully, will lead to building a “beloved community.”
Rev. Dr. Larry Foy
IM4HI Los Angeles Regional Director