OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham
“Restorative Justice, Slavery, and the American Soul”
. . . The Question of Reparations”
February 23, 2013 10 pm ET
OUR Guest: Michael BlevinsAuthor, Professor, Change and Justice Leader/Activist
Founding Executive Director, NE Iowa Peace & Justice Center
ABOUT Michael Blevins
Michael Blevins, JD, M.Div, LL.M (Intercultural Human Rights) works from Decorah, IA. He was a defense attorney for ten years in the state of Kansas and is an ordained pastor. He currently is a human rights advocate and activist who teaches Ethics and Philosophy at the college level and was recently the founding Executive Director of the NE Iowa Peace & Justice Center in Decorah, Iowa.
Mike is a Diversified Social Change and Non-Profit Professional with over twenty years experience in law, ministry, classroom teaching, community organizing, non-profit leadership, conflict resolution services, strategic planning, human rights advocacy and non-profit community development–including non-profit leadership, human rights education and advocacy.
He authored “Restorative Justice, Slavery, and the American Soul, A Policy-Oriented Approach to the Question of Reparations”, which was awarded the 2005 Institute of Policy Sciences Best Graduate Student Paper prize; the paper was presented by the author at the Annual Symposium of the Institute of Policy Sciences at Yale University Law School in October, 2005; Published by the Thurgood Marshall Law School Journal (Volume 31, No.2, pp. 253-322, Spring 2006.
Our discussion with Mike with focus on the following topics:
- What is Restorative Justice and how might it apply to the evil of White Supremacy
- Mass Incarceration and other aspects of the New Jim Crow
- The Question of Reparations
- Reparations Initiatives including HR 40 (Conyers) and other proposals for approaching reparations
Blevins, Michael F. (2005). Restorative Justice, Slavery, and the American Soul, A Policy-Oriented Intercultural Human Rights Approach to the Question of Reparations. Thurgood Marshall Law Review. 31:253-322. Summary by Restorative Justice.Org:
“Blevins provides an overview of how past slavery has an effect on present society; reparations have not been paid to the African American community and injustice remains. Reparations, Blevins states, should come in the form of aid, not charity, and that the United States owes reparations to both Africa and African-Americans. The current theories and laws addressing slavery reparations are centered on a litigation approach. This approach is ineffective and inhibits justice from being served. Blevins then discusses the Restorative Justice approach, briefly mentioning the Truth and Reconciliation processes in Africa, the Truth Commission established in Peru, and other Restorative Justice initiatives around the world. The article states that if nothing is done in the United States to address the past and present problems with slavery and racism, these problems will continue. To be successful, the reparations movement must occur within the academic, professional, civic, and religious sectors. Blevins suggests that an African American Redress Commission should be established by the House and Senate. Additionally, a commission would then be established in each district, with the purpose of conducting investigations and research, holding hearings, and holding community forums. The most important aspect of these commissions being the forums because the community would have a chance to be heard and to come up with solutions for the present problem. Each district would then submit a plan to the executive Commission, complete with legislative recommendations, entitled “America’s 21st Century Contract with African Americans.” Blevins ties this whole process to the commencement of slavery in Jamestown Virginia, comes up with an outline of a possible payment plan from the United States government to both African Americans and Africans, and challenges individual States to take action.”OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham