Marking the first of many successes for the grassroots, the 2022 Reparations rally was an event for the ages.
Thousands of family members gathered in Freedom Plaza for a rare chance to collaborate with other activist, content creators, journalist, vendors and even some security specialists.
Despite a 6-hour long train ride that had its share of hurdles, I was elated when I finally arrived in DC.
It marked a chance to meet some of the many other members of the Black media and grassroots players that I’ve been covering for years now. People like Dr. Kaba Kamene, Jade Arrindell, Connie Collins, Tariq Nasheed, and many more.
Once I dropped my gear off at the Morrison-Clark Inn I decided to head out to the plaza and it was like all of the online interactions that I had seen over the years had manifested in front of me! There were vendors with colorful banners attached to their tables, some of the banners had fantastic messages designed on them as well.
Of course, there was rift raft in the beginning of the day. Salesmen from outside of the community attempted to tell us that we needed specialized licenses to report on our own family members. However, I was quickly surrounded by Brothas who got the harasser off of the block and assured me that they would answer any of my questions.
Nathan Wyatt who is a member of the Nevada Freedman’s Association told the Daily that this was easily the biggest rally for reparations that he’d ever been to.
“I think that we heard the call to action from the Black media and we saw other group rallying for basically made up things that wasn’t nearly as important as the wrongs done to our people.” Wyatt said. So, when I personally got the opportunity and I only live 4 hours away, I knew I wasn’t gonna allow myself to miss this.”
Clad in red and black garbs, Najee Harris was eager to answer our questions about the vibe of the event. Harris who considers himself a Moorish sovereign said that he may have many intellectual disagreements with a lot of the speakers, but that he supported the general idea of reparations for the former slaves.
“I don’t agree with everything I hear, but when will you agree with 100% of everything you hear at an huge event like this?” Harris said as he offered me a hotdog from Ben’s Chili, which is a local Black restaurant that sells heavenly corndogs and mac and cheese to die for.
“But Its about all of us doing right by our ancestors.” Harris finished.
I got a chance to approach Dr. Kaba himself, but he had way too many fans around him for me to ask a personal question.
Dr. Kaba is simply majestic. He has wisdom far beyond his years although he did sarcastically assure us that he was very old and tired. Kaba blends sciences practiced by the ancestors along with newer mores created by the former slaves in order to spiritually and psychologically free themselves.
Sarah Kenny is an activist from Lansing, Michigan who started her work after the 2016 murder of famed activist Daren Seals.
“I’ve been doing work for the community for about 10 years but I really ramped it up during the beginning of the BLM movement. I couldn’t support how white supremacist with badges were targeting us.” She said.
I wanted to know what she thought was the biggest surprise of the rally so far.
“I think it’s the sheer amount of people that actually came, its like-wow! There’s so many friendly people here who are on code and its just like the power of ‘we’ is absolutely amazing.”
Sarah says she’s even more enthusiastic about upcoming grassroot events this year and maybe a repeat reparations national rally next year.
“I think that now that we’ve set a precedent for just being able to link up from around the country and create festive events that financially benefit all of us, I just think that something like this is going to be replicated over and over. And that’s what we need right now.” She beamed.
Yes I did get a chance to meet the legendary Marcel Dixon and he’s not only politicking but still teaching too! Check out this little genius as she does her own interview of Marcel Dixon!
We’ve got something even better than friends, we’ve got Family.
The grassroots have once again shattered all expectations, now what’s coming next?
–Kerry Hill, B1Daily