BYM hosts reparations conference

'The issue of reparations is really gaining momentum; it does feel like we are moving.’

Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) hosted the UK’s first reparations conference organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Afrikan Reparations (APPG-AR) this month.

The conference, at Friends House in Euston, brought together parliamentarians, campaigners, institutions and others to discuss reparations and the continued exploitation of peoples of African descent across the world.

Hosted as part of ongoing Quaker discernment on how to make meaningful reparations for the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonialism, the free conference featured sessions on issues related to reparatory justice from education to environmental justice.

Edwina Peart, the inclusion and diversity coordinator for BYM, said: ‘It was wonderful that we were able to share our building in this way. The issue of reparations is really gaining momentum; it does feel like we are moving.’

The conference showed increasing collaboration, she added, encompassing, not just reparations to Caribbean nations affected by the slave trade, but the impact on African countries.

‘For example, the Caricom group of Caribbean nations, whose ten-point plan for reparations was discussed at the conference, are to meet with the African Union to discuss their view of the issue,’ Edwina Peart said.

Speakers included Diane Abbott MP; Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of the Young Vic; and Kimani Nehusi, a professor at Temple University.
Siobhán Haire, the deputy recording clerk for BYM, also contributed to a panel discussing the complex history of churches in enslavement of African peoples and the need to decolonise the aid sector.

The APPG-AR, founded in 2021 and chaired by Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, brings together parliamentarians, campaigners and communities. It explores policy proposals on reparations and development and how best to redress the legacies of African enslavement and colonialism.

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