Quakers host inaugural UK Reparations Conference
Quakers in Britain played host to the UK's first reparations conference organized by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Afrikan Reparations (APPG-AR), at Friends House in Euston last weekend.
The conference brought together parliamentarians, campaigners, institutions and ordinary people to discuss reparations and the continued exploitation of peoples of African descent across the world.
The issue of reparations is really gaining momentum- Edwina Peart
Quakers agreed last year to consider how to make meaningful reparations for the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonialism. Hosting this conference is part of that work.
The free conference featured sessions on issues related to reparatory justice from education to environmental justice.
Speakers included Diane Abbott MP, Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of the Young Vic, and Kimani Nehusi, professor at Temple University.
Deputy Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain Siobhan Haire contributed to a panel discussing the complex history of churches in forced enslavement of African peoples and the need to decolonize the aid sector.
Edwina Peart, inclusion and diversity coordinator at Quakers in Britain, 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 said, 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 10-point plan for reparations was discussed at the conference, are to meet with the African Union to discuss their view of the issue," Peart said.
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.