Ever since the time of President Abraham Lincoln, there have been laws to marginalize Black people in the United States, says Southwestern College Assistant Professor Kwame Shabazz, better known as Brother Shabazz. The time is right for the people to rise up to demand reparations, he said.
Shabazz said education would be the vehicle to make progress.
“But a lot of us don’t know enough about the details to make it happen,” he said. “So it has to be education. That’s why I am here, that’s what I do. That’s what many of us do, we are trying to get enough people involved and engaged to make a push, to force these politicians to do something about applying it to Black people.”
Shabazz held the ‘Reparations for Black Americans’ workshop Feb. 16 as part of a series of events scheduled to celebrate Black History Month. The discourse examined the history of black people in America, from slavery to present day, the laws that have been created through time to marginalize black people in the United States, and why there is a growing movement to make reparations to Black Americans.
Shabazz provided historical information from the days of slavery to the Constitution’s 13th Amendment which abolished slavery. He brought the history lesson to more modern times with the reparation movement of the late 1950’s under Queen Mother Moore, an American activist and civil-rights leader. Movement leaders claimed the United States government allowed the marginalization of black Americans with Jim Crow laws, and many other actions.
The movement and claims for justice for black Americans is for the government to create a program that specifically targets them. The struggle, Shabazz said, is that public servants consider it “political suicide.”
“It has to be people from the bottom, demanding and pushing politicians,” Shabazz said. “Politicians don’t do anything until you demand it. So, it has to be something from the grass-roots level.”
The talk was one of several lectures and events presented throughout February as part of Black History Month. The events were sponsored by the Office of Student Equity Programs, SWC Pride and Umoja community.