Juneteenth and reparations. Both these words conjure up images of freedom and self-determination. This Juneteenth, Movement for Black Lives is calling for taking back the land or reclaiming space in our neighborhoods. The goal of “40 Acres, 40 Cities, One Day” is to (re)focus the Black Community on re-imaging and re-building our communities which suffer from deliberate public disinvestment perpetuated by racist policies and laws. Our communities are not on the list to receive monies for development and services. While we fight to control and direct our tax dollars, our communities must take an active role in redesigning and protecting where we live.
The call for land and liberty are not new in the Black Liberation Struggle. African people have always had a deep and historic connection with land. Decades ago, a group of us did claim space in the spirit of liberation and self-determination. As young organizers, we had a shared vision about what we wanted for our community. We put our monies together and bought the building that could be used as we organized and educated our people. We clearly understood the importance of land, of owning and controlling resources. Next month, we will launch plans for the 45th anniversary of the Rowan Community Center in 2018.
The St. Louis Aldermanic Black Caucus has introduced a resolution in support of HR 40 sponsored by Congressman John Conyers and introduced in 1989. The bill asks for a study of U.S. slavery and reparations but has been stuck in the Congress for almost 30 years. OBS agrees with Alderman Terry Kennedy when he says, “True and lasting racial equity cannot be achieved without understanding the lasting effects of slavery on the American populace, life, culture, psyche and spirit.”
Free the land!