Activists Call for ‘White Churches’ to ‘Commit to Reparations’

Boston activists have called for “white churches” to pay $15 billion in reparations for black residents.

The payments are specifically designed to atone for the city’s participation in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

“We call sincerely and with a heart filled with faith and Christian love for our white churches to join us and not be silent around this issue of racism and slavery and commit to reparations,” Reverend Kevin Peterson said during a press conference, according to the Boston Globe. “We point to them in Christian love to publicly atone for the sins of slavery and we ask them to publicly commit to a process of reparations where they will extend their great wealth — tens of millions of dollars among some of those churches — into the Black community.”

Sixteen religious leaders signed an open letter and sent it to Boston churches, calling for the churches to offer cash payments, develop affordable housing, and support “financial and economic institutions in Black Boston.”

The letter was reportedly sent to Arlington Street Church, Trinity Church, and Old South Church in Back Bay. Each of the churches was established in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Rev. John E. Gibbons of Arlington Street Church said that several churches have begun discussing reparations. “Somehow we need to move with some urgency toward action and so part of what we’re doing is to prod and encourage white churches to go beyond what they have done thus far,” he stated.

Reparations payments have been a major discussion across U.S. states.

Last year, New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed a bill establishing a task force for race-based reparations.

“Today, we are continuing our efforts to right the wrongs of the past by acknowledging the painful legacy of slavery in New York,” Hochul said in a press release. “We have a moral obligation to reckon with all parts of our shared history as New Yorkers, and this commission marks a critical step forward in these efforts.”

Similarly, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson (D) announced that he allocated $500,000 in his budget for “restoration and reparations.”

Johnson told CNN at the time that reparations would “address the cycle of violence.”

“And so, in order for us to build a better, stronger, safer Chicago, it requires investments. And that’s what this budget has done – a $16.77 billion budget without raising property taxes, and we’re just getting started in the city of Chicago,” Johnson explained.

San Francisco, California, also proposed reparations payments to Black residents, a move that could cost the city over $100 billion.