Members of U.S. Freedmen on Code holding a banner outside of the White House urging President Joe Biden to pass the Executive Order for H.R.40., the bill that would establish the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans. (Photo by Ezinne Onyedum)

By Ezinne Onyedum
Special to The Afro

The cries for justice through reparations continue to be heard around the country, including in the nation’s capital.

The reparationists U.S. Freedmen On Code held a demonstration in front of the White House to push for attention on this.

The October 16 demonstration began with four members, but in just minutes the group expanded as 26 other members from across the U.S. joined. They were all from different walks of life, but united by one mission.

Members and supporters of U.S. Freedmen on Code gathered in front of the White House voicing their message in a peaceful demonstration. (Photo by Ezinne Onyedum)

“We all hope that Joe Biden is looking out the window and that he actually is able to write an executive order to get this done ASAP,” said Kash Gaines, a member of the group who came from Brooklyn, New York to participate in the demonstration.

According to Gaines, the organization was formed this year on the social audio app called Clubhouse. They are known as grassroots organizations because they start on a local level and make a collective effort to prompt change in larger systems.

Apparently, these groups are forming quickly and frequently, according to Dr. Raymond Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University. When asked about the number of these groups that have been established nationally, Raymond Winbush author of “Should America Pay? Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations” and the director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University said, “Five years ago I could have narrowed this down. They’re all over now.”

The message on the back of the T-shirts was made by the National Reparationist Confederation and worn by multiple participants at the demonstration. (Photo by Ezinne Onyedum)

“Who built this?” screamed one of the leaders of the group. “We built this,” the crowd chanted back, referring to the home of the President, which historians said was built partially by unpaid African-American slave labor.

“We are standing in the shoes of our ancestors,” said Nita Scott, one of the leaders and founders of U.S. Freemen On Code.

“Reparations are a form of admission of guilt from a nation that they have committed a crime against humanity against another group,” said Winbush. “The repayment or repair, is an admission of guilt, an admission that we are going to start to remedy what has happened in the past.”

Members holding up a banner with the African American Heritage flag created by Melvin Charles. The flag is accompanied by the name of the organization ‘U.S. Freedmen on Code’ and one of the slogans from the organization ‘Reparations Now!’ (Photo by Ezinne Onyedum)

Winbush cited the 2015 Accra Declaration for an estimate on the amount of money that would be owed to the African Diaspora as a result of Transatlantic slavery. “The number they came up with was $77 trillion,” said Winbush.

According to Scott, this is the third demonstration the group has held this year, and she urges the American public and government officials to “Get on code or get out of the way.”

The writer is a Strategic Communication major at Morgan State University.

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