By The Associated Press

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has awarded $175,000 in grants to community organizations from a fund established to make reparations for systemic racism and slavery.

The diocese announced May 26 that six organizations doing the work of “restoring African American and Black communities” were selected to receive funds through the inaugural reparations grant process, news outlets reported.

The awardees included Baltimore-based Samaritan Community, St. Luke’s Youth Center and Next One Up; Calvert Concept Charitable Corp. in Calvert County; I Believe In Me in Frederick; and Anne Arundel Connecting Together in Anne Arundel County.

More than 15 years ago, church leaders began documenting how the institution benefited from slavery and studied how the chuch continued to benefit from systems that oppressed or marginalized Black people even after abolition, Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton said. The diocese voted at its 2019 general convention to study reparations and a year later the reparations fund was established at its annual convention with $1 million in seed money.

“The legacy of 350-plus years of discrimination against persons of African descent have taken a toll on this nation. And it has affected all of us,” said Sutton, the first Black bishop in the diocese. “None of us may have been guilty, but all of us have a responsibility. Today is an indication of the responsibility we are taking.”

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