Who we Are
H.E.R.E. (Higher Education Reparations Engagement) is a resource and networking hub for campuses and local communities that are examining their histories, responsibilities, and commitments to restorative justice and repair for the historic and current injustices of slavery and colonialism. Resources are curated for use by campuses and community organizations for addressing the acknowledgement, healings, and ending of systemic racial injustices at the institutional, local, and national level.
The resources are curated for use by students, faculty, staff, and community partners to examine, organize around, and act on securing reparations. The resources are aimed at change internal to the campus as well as change in the community, with community partners. Attention to reparations allows for examining campus practices as well as how campus resources can be aimed toward organizing and advocacy for changing political conditions to make possible local and national reparations efforts. To have a strong understanding of where we are, we must study the historic moments perpetuating the inequalities that would have led to a just and equitable America. We must also understand the existing economic divide, how it came to be and how it can be eliminated. Lastly, will investigate how this work can lay the foundation for belonging for all people of the United States of America.
What HERE hopes to accomplish
HERE is aimed at providing resources for those working on economic justice issues in communities of color that address healing and repair.
HERE is aimed at providing resources for those on college and university campuses connecting student engagement with communities to issues of politics and organizing for racial and social justice.
HERE is aimed at providing resources for those on college and university campuses to examine campus practices for the ways in which they perpetuate racial and social injustice.
HERE is aimed at cultivating community and campus leadership to shift the political condition to support reparation efforts institutionally, locally, statewide, and nationally.
HERE is aimed at growing resources and networks through the sharing of campus-based, community-based, and leadership efforts to further strengthen and spread the work of understanding and enacting reparations.
HERE is aimed at facilitating action to bring about social and racial justice.
What you can do
APPLY here https://www.givepulse.com/survey/take/5E6L9E26ljpDENSxgjwU and be a founding contributor to the HERE team in dialogue and generation of additional resources
SUPPORT, advise and guide the soon to be soft launched resource hub and website in July 2021
LAUNCH publicly the HERE resource hub in September 2021 to community engagement networks and venues to advance this work.
FIND connections in the HERE networking hub to build this work collectively.
SHARE your work with HERE so that others can know about your work and learn from it.
A special role for campus leaders
HERE encourages campus leaders – Chancellors, President, Provosts – to attend to restorative and transformative justice on campus through exploring how the legacies of slavery and colonialism are embedded in the institutional life of your campus. If, in your exploration, you find that your campus is implicated in and impacted by the legacies of slavery and colonialism in the present, then HERE encourages you to commit to implementing a process towards acknowledgement, repair, and healing.
HERE encourages you to attend to restorative and transformative justice in the local community by collaborating with local civic and political leaders and with community-based organizations to support efforts to explore and enact local reparations or encourage the creation of such efforts.
HERE encourages you to attend to restorative and transformative justice nationally by supporting a national program of reparations. This could mean issuing a public statement on behalf of your campus in support of current congressional legislation, the bill HR 40. If you make such a commitment, we ask that you share your statement with HERE as a model and catalyst for other to make similar commitments.
HERE has been created by and is supported through a collaboration between GivePulse (givepulse.com), King Boston (kingboston.org), and an intergenerational, cross sectoral, diverse taskforce of scholars and community advocates from across the United States.
Brief History of HERE
HERE was organized in the summer of 2020, during the simmering aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and in the midst of the COVID pandemic. It emerged from a graduate course on Community Engagement in Higher Education that started in January 2020 before the pandemic has hit and before the heightened awareness among white Americans of racial injustice in the US.
The curriculum was structured in a way that interrogated an emergent critical community engagement perspective in the field and its implications for teaching and learning, for faculty scholarship, and for institutions. The last session of the course focused on community engagement and reparations addressing anti-Black racism. The course examined how community engagement might be practiced through partnerships focused on and driven by reparative commitments.
Students read pieces on reparations, like the case for reparations by Coates, and reports by campus groups that examined their campus’s relation to slavery, like the slavery and justice report from Brown University, and other material that explored reparation in the context of the moral responsibility of higher education to acknowledge and repair its historical relationship to slavery and racial injustice. The book by Darity and Mullins, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twentieth Century, had been published in early 2020, and the authors did a COVID-induced webinar the in the spring, discussing their book.
The question was raised, during the webinar, of the responsibility of institutions of higher education for reparations. Institutions like Brown and Georgetown have begun to acknowledge their slave past, with some discussion, if not significant action, on redress. States like Florida have provided scholarships for higher education as redress for the Rosewood massacre (a Black town like dozens of others that were destroyed by white violence in the late teens and decade of the 1920s across the United States). What could College and Universities do to support a program of reparations? Darity and Mullins were clear in their response: higher education institutions could support national legislation for a program of reparations, what has been attempted in the bill HR 40, which has been introduced in every session of congress for over three decades, and never voted on.
Darity and Mullins write that “student activists on colleges and university campuses – who increasingly are working to uncover the deep connections of many of their institutions to slavery, to the veneration of the Confederacy, and to the ‘scientific’ perpetuating of the ideas of black cognitive and cultural inferiority – can take on a new challenge. Instead of seeking piecemeal reparations from their institutions on a one-by-one basis, activists should push these institutions to join the lobbying effort for congressional approval of black reparations.” Students could work to build a grassroots lobbying effort “to advocate, forcefully, for reparations for black Americans.” Students could be active in creating “the political conditions that will lead the U.S. Congress to enact a program of black reparations” (p. 269). Colleges and universities could mobilize “their considerable resources to compensate for the harms” of slavery and racial injustice through a national program of reparations (270).
The text of H.R.40, as currently written, calls for “commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery.” It repeatedly mentions educational disparities in explaining why a commission to study the persistent harms of slavery is necessary. It describes economic and educational hardships suffered by Black Americans since 1865 as “debilitating” and notes that differences in educational funding have perpetuated this inequality. Further, it calls for the proposed commission to study how slavery directly benefited certain “societal institutions, both public and private, including higher education” and the ways in which contemporary “instructional resources” are used “to deny the inhumanity of slavery and the crime against humanity of people of African descent.”
Out of this course, a group of scholars and community activists came together to envision the building of a resource and networking hub to share resources, establish a repository of effective practices, create a collective network of students and campuses.
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