13 Things To Know About The Rising ADOS Movement Pushing America Towards Reparations

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Written by Ann Brown
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13 Things To Know About The Rising ADOS Movement Pushing America Towards Reparations Photos: Twitter

The reparations debate is heating up, especially since California just became the first state to pass a bill to create a reparations study group. The result could be reparations for descendants of slavery. One of the major pushes behind the reparations movement is the ADOS movement — American Descendants of Slavery.

ADOS, as its website states, “seeks to reclaim/restore the critical national character of the African American identity and experience, one grounded in our group’s unique lineage, and which is central to our continuing struggle for social and economic justice in the United States.” And one of the ways to achieve this goal is tough reparations for Native Black Americans.

Here are 13 things to know about the rising ADOS movement that is pushing America towards reparations.

1. ADOS…the beginning

#ADOS was launched by Howard graduate Yvette Carnell, host of the Breaking Brown show and UCLA alumnus and attorney Antonio Moore, who hosts the weekly radio show ToneTalks. While the group’s website does not cite a start date, it was founded in 2016, according to University of Texas at Austin.

2. ADOS 101

ADOS is looking to address the racial inequality in the U.S. that has resulted in social and economic injustices. According to its website it demands a New Deal for Black America that will include, among other things, “set-asides for American descendants of slavery, not ‘minorities’.” 

The groups urges that any reparations should be for Native Black Americans and not Black immigrants. The latter, the group says, “should be barred from accessing affirmative action and other set-asides intended for ADOS, as should Asians, Latinos, white women, and other ‘minority’ groups.”

3. Behind ADOS

Co-founder Carnell writes about politics, wealth and race. Before embarking on a career in news media, she served as a Congressional aide, first to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and later to former Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR).

Her articles have been published in the Huffington Post, Counterpunch, and YourBlackWorld. Carnell, who received a B.A. in political science from Howard University, has been featured by national news outlets including, but not limited to The Nation, The Guardian, Politico and NPR.

ADOS co-founder Moore graduated from University of California, Los Angeles and Loyola Law School. He is now a practicing Los Angeles-based attorney.

He worked as a producer on the Emmy nominated documentary, “Crack in the System” presented by Al Jazeera which explores the effects of mass incarceration, the Iran Contra scandal and the resulting crack cocaine epidemic that swept across the U.S.

4.  Who is Dr. Darity?

A major voice in the reparations movement, Prof. Dr. William “Sandy” Darity and his books are often cited by ADOS.

Darity’s research focuses on inequality by race, class and ethnicity, stratification economics, schooling and the racial achievement gap.

A professor at Duke University, he is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics and the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity.

Darity has served as chairman of the Department of African and African American Studies and was the founding director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality at Duke, according to the university website.

He has also served as editor in chief of the latest edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences and as an Associate Editor of the 2006 edition of the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism.

His most recent book, coauthored with A. Kirsten Mullen, is “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century.” Among his other books are “For-Profit Universities: The Shifting Landscape of Marketized Education”; Economics, Economists, and Expectations: Microfoundations to Macroapplications”; and “Boundaries of Clan and Color: Transnational Comparisons of Inter-Group Disparity.”

Darity has received a number of awards and accolades such as the Samuel Z. Westerfield Award, National Economic Association and the Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award and Southern Economic Association award.

5. The power of social media

Social media played a major part in spreading the word about ADOS. In fact, the hashtag #ADOS attracted not just media attention but also new members. There are thousands of ADOS “soldiers and sympathizers online.” 

ADOS has chapters in many major cities from New York City and Detroit to Los Angeles. The inaugural ADOS conference in 2019, which met in Louisville, Kentucky, drew some 2,000 attendees. (The 2020 ADOS conference was canceled presumably due to the covid-19 pandemic.)

6. HR40 edits

H.R. 40 (HR40) is the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The act is sponsored by Rep Sheila Jackson Lee, who re-introduced in the House of Representatives in 2019. While HR40 is seen by many reparations activists as a move in the right direction by the federal government, ADOS said there needs to be changes to the act.

In 2019, ADOS co-founder Moore tweeted, “This bill #hr40 isn’t to achieve reparations. It’s become clear this movement needs to be #ados led, and directed by @SandyDarity to ensure it is tied to a multi trillion dollar package only for #ados. This is not reparations, it’s a discussion of how to help poor communities.”

7. ADOS shoutouts

The ADOS movement has been acknowledged by many in the spotlight.

Upon news that the California reparations bill had been signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, hip-hop icon Ice Cube tweeted, “Thank you Governor @GavinNewsom for signing..Thank you @ADOSLosAngeles for bringing the bill to my attention so we could push from all angles” 

Professor and social activist Dr. Cornel West has long shown support for ADOS, giving them a shoutout during a 2019 interview on CNN about reparations. West also attended and spoke at the 2019 ADOS conference.

Hip-hop artist-turned activist Killer Mike has also acknowledged ADOS’s work. In a 2019 reply to a Bernie Sanders tweet about the proposed HR 40 reparations act, Killer Mike tweeted, “#ADOS put the pressure on. Bernie Agreed to Sign HR 40 when elected. Their site as of Feb 18 supported said, Bill. Help me understand the problem with your advocacy. It seems to be working.”

8. Anti-establishment

One thing is for sure, ADOS is not about going along with the status quo. The group has often challenged what it considers “Black bourgeoisie  Democratic Party establishment,” with targets including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, his vice presidential pick Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, and others. 

Harris, ADOS has stated, is “not Black American” as her heritage is Indian and Jamaica. 

Regarding Obama, ADOS co-founder Carnell tweeted in May, “Obama is horrible 4 #ADOS & our politics. We don’t OWE any1 anything, not immigrants & not LGBT. We r OWED. These groups co-opted our history thru their “New Black” narratives, then turned a blind eye to our oppression, and in many cases, became our new oppressors in Brownface.”

Carnell added, “1/ Our first Black President didn’t do anything for #ADOS except 1/ tell us what he couldn’t do 4 #ADOS & 2/ sit idly by as what little Black wealth we had was eviscerated by predatory white capital. Now he’s giving us orders on which groups we should protect? He’s despicable.”

9. For Native Black Americans only

ADOS believes that Native Black descendants of American Slavery should get a fair share of prosperity before new immigrant groups do.

According to the ADOS website, “We need set-asides for American descendants of slavery, not ‘minorities’ — a throw-away category which includes all groups except white men. That categorization has allowed Democrats to use programs like affirmative actions as ‘giveaways’ to all groups in exchange for votes. The bribery must end.”

The group wants a  new designation on the census for ADOS and another for Black immigrants. It also wants preference programs to only be available to native Blacks. “Black immigrants should be barred from accessing affirmative action and other set-asides intended for ADOS, as should Asians, Latinos, white women, and other ‘minority’ groups. In addition, ADOS hiring and employment data must be demanded for all businesses receiving tax credits, incentives, and governmental support.”

10. ADOS conference

The group’s first ADOS conference took place in October 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. It attracted such notable speakers as Cornel West and some 2,000 attendees. This year’s event was canceled.

11. Loud & proud

ADOS supports and representatives don’t shy away from getting their point across. Take media figure Jameion Fowler, an ADOS member.

Fowler has often confronted political candidates with direct questions about reparations for Black Americans, catching their responses on camera.

He has posted footage on Twitter of his interviews and attempts to get responses from an array of politicians and candidates — from Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren to former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

12. On voting

ADOS does not pledge allegiance to any political party, and has encouraged down-ballot voting for either Biden or Trump.

To the Democrats, ADOS has stated, “In exchange for our vote, ADOS DMV is demanding that candidates are in favor of reparations (first as cash payments) for American Descendants of Slavery, and have a Black agenda for generational programs and set-asides that will repair long-standing inequalities in areas such as housing, education, health care, employment, criminal justice, community infrastructure, banking, business, etc.”

The group also noted on its website the importance of the right to vote. It stated, “The Supreme Court decided wrongly when it gutted the Voting Rights Act. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article ‘It’s Time to Solve the Mystery of the 100,000 Mystery Votes’ indicates, the protections outlined in the Voting Rights Act are essential to protecting the rights of ADOS in America. Reinstituting the protections of The Voting Rights Act is a key part of our agenda.”

13. ADOS on actors

When the role of abolitionist and former slave Harriet Tubman was given to British-Nigerian actress Cynthia Erivo for the Hollywood film “Harriet,” ADOS voiced opposition. The group said Hollywood acting portraying Black Americans should go to Black actors of ADOS lineage.

Read more: 100 Facts On Reparations For Native Black Americans