Reparation Generation, a national organization providing direct reparative money transfers to Black Americans for wealth-building pursuits, launched a new program that takes a citizen-driven approach to restoration for disenfranchised descendants of American slavery.
“Our vision is for this country that we love to become the ‘more perfect union’ our nation’s founders promised. Equity for Black Americans is good for all Americans. Systemic racism has kept the U.S. from reaching its full financial and economic potential,” said Reparation Generation co-chairwoman Kiko Davis Snoddy, founder and president of the Donald Davis Living Trust. The trust holds the majority stake in First Independence Bank, one of the largest Black-owned banks in the U.S.
Snoddy’s late husband, Donald Davis was a native Detroiter, Grammy Award-winning music producer and businessman-turned-bank mogul. He bought First Independence Bank in 1980 and served as chairman until his death in 2014.
In addition to Snoddy, Black women co-founders of Reparation Generation include Pamela Alexander, director of community development for the Ford Motor Company Fund, and Denise Brooks Williams, senior vice president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System’s North Market.
Reparation Generation is a multiracial group of Americans formed to demonstrate what reparations for Black Americans could actually look like in action, Snoddy said. It has a Black-led, white-financed strategy that includes direct privately-funded “reparative transfers” to Black Americans for homeownership and other wealth-building pursuits.
One of its co-founders is David Mayer, founder and president of medical device company Mayer Laboratories. Other co-founders include renowned professor and Black American commentator Michael Eric Dyson, author of more than 20 books; business consultant Ian Conyers; Bishop Marvin L. Sapp, spiritual leader and Gospel singer, and Hollywood executive Jeffrey Glaser, a senior executive at Sony Pictures Television.
Beginning Nov. 1, Reparation Generation began making reparative transfers of $25,000 to up to 10 Black Americans who are descendants of slavery to be used for homeownership in the Detroit area. These financial transfers represent money that was never paid, was stolen, or denied to their families, the company said. The plan is for the pilot program to expand nationwide.
“The funds for the pilot phase have come from individuals who believe in the mission of Reparation Generation. Future funding will come from individuals, corporations and foundations that believe in the moral responsibility to act now while we educate our elected officials to approve a Federal Reparations Act,” Snoddy said.
The applicants in the pilot program were selected on a first-come-first-served basis after becoming aware of the program through the Greater Detroit Realtist Association, financial institutions, and the Reparation Generation website.
“Reparation Generation is a multiracial group of Americans that have come together in a spirit of shared commitment to creating models of reparation-like programs that will inspire and lead our elected officials to enact a federal reparations act,” Snoddy said.
She continued, “Reparation Generation is a personal commitment, to make real, in our generation, the movement of Americans, Black and White, that reconciles and addresses America’s history of slavery and its many vestiges.”
Besides advancing homeownership, Reparation Generation plans to also focus on education and entrepreneurship.
The organization is starting with homeownership, given the alarmingly low numbers on Black homeownership.
As of the first quarter of 2021, Black homeownership was at a rate of 45.1 percent, compared to 73.8 percent for whites, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Homeownership comprises the largest portion of Americans’ wealth yet has been consistently less accessible to Black citizens for so many systemic and historical reasons … Providing meaningful reparative transfers during the purchase of a home provides an immediate transfer of wealth,” said Snoddy.
When asked how the organization determines who is a descendant of slaves, Snoddy replied, “Reparation Generation’s process supports many of the organizations and efforts of others, such as William “Sandy” Darity, Jr., Kristen Mullen, Andre Perry, Rayshawn Ray, and others … any Black person who can trace their heritage to people enslaved in U.S. states and territories should be eligible for financial compensation for slavery.”
She added, “During the pilot phase, Reparation Generation has relied upon birth records, death records, personal family trees, DNA testing, as well as other attestations of family history. As will all elements of the pilot phase, Reparation Generation will be evaluating and may modify this process.”
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Many advocates of reparations for slavery feel that limited reparations are not the answer, that they must come on a federal level. But Snoddy feels that Reparation Generation can make a difference and help the federal reparations movement.
“Reparation Generation is just one thread in the fabric of the reparation tapestry. We are committed to working with other Reparative Justice programs in a movement that will lead our nation to a Federal Reparations Act. However, right now, individuals, corporations, and foundations that are ready to reconcile history and to atone for slavery and its legacy can immediately impact the racial wealth gap by making reparative transfers through Reparation Generation,” Snoddy pointed out. “The Reparative Wealth Transfers will go initially to homeownership, but we will also expand into addressing education and business ownership barriers. This process will allow for healing of our nation and provide real evidence of the demand for and the power of reparations.”