Public Witness

Seeking Repair

Allison Tanner

February 4, 2022

In this week’s Public Witness Bible Study we discussed reparations for African Americans. Insights from our conversations that have stayed with me are 1) reparations is a spiritual practice, a way to living out our faith values; 2) there is no way to fully repair the harms that have been done by the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and the violent, inhumane, legal practice of slavery in our country; and 3) education plays an essential role in both truth-telling of our nation’s history and providing ways to equalize opportunities going forward. I am grateful for all who participated in the Bible Study and the shared wisdom from our conversations.

We explored reparations materials shared by Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, whose framework is to mend the past, heal the present and transform the future. I found helpful these 5 Components of Reparations put forth by the United Nations and explained by Grassroots Reparations Campaign Director David Ragland:

1. Restitution, or return of what was stolen;

2. Rehabilitation, in the form of psychological and physical support. Consider how the maternal health of Black mothers and the trauma inflicted on Black bodies impacts our daily experience in the White world. But rehabilitation is also for White folks—because it encourages healing from Whiteness, which is an existential or spiritual problem, as it falsely posits White as superior;

3. Compensation, which must incorporate meaningful transfer of wealth. While some of us just want a check, reparations can’t only be transactional, because those most likely facilitating the transaction—large banks—continue to play an active role in keeping our communities disenfranchised through redlining, predatory lending, and so much more;

4. Satisfaction, which requires acknowledgement of guilt, apology, burials, construction of memorials, and education about the true history of this nation’s founding sin;

5. Guarantees of non-repetition, which reinforces reparations as a long-term process that requires systemic and personal change.”

I am very much looking forward to Pastor Carolyn’s Forum on Reparations from a Generational Perspective on Sunday, February 20, following worship.

I invite you to an Interfaith Vigil of Solidarity and Remembrance on Saturday, February 12, at 11 a.m. to remember the 80th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066 signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt that led to the mass incarceration of 120,000 mostly Japanese Americans. This event, hosted by Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, is in solidarity with Reparations for African Americans and Stop AAPI Hate, recognizing the common threads of U.S. imperialism globally, xenophobia, and systemic racism that weave these struggles together. In remembering, naming injustice, and seeking repair, we are invited to work together to create beloved community. You can register for the Vigil at

Praying for justice and working for repair,

Pastor Allison