Mission Statement for AASRT - The African American Slave Reparation Team
AASRT, Inc. – pronounced “assert”) is a charitable, 501(c)3 tax-exempt Christian organization whose mission is to promote the collection, monitoring, and managing of Reparation assets paid to the descendants of African slaves in the United States of America by appropriate entities for the purpose of enlarging and distributing the wealth restored to them as compensation for their various and profound unjust deprivations, losses, and sufferings, and to benefit those descendants’ communities and the United States at large by fostering knowledge, understanding, and respect for the American slave experience and its ongoing harmful consequences, to the spiritual benefit of all Americans and to the glory of God.
What got you started thinking about Reparations?
Actually, it was my wife’s idea.
Shelia got it in her head as a very young woman, before we had ever met, that Reparations for African-Americans had to be. So, she garnered about 5,000 petition signatures in Gary, Indiana to try to make the government make that happen. But of course, it didn’t. After we got married, she always mentioned “forty acres and a mule.” But I didn’t see any way forward, at least not with the government.
How did AASRT get started?
I guess, it was just, plain time. In the summer of 2014, Ta’Nehisi Coates wrote a landmark cover article for the Atlantic Monthly magazine on American slave Reparations entitled, “The Case For Reparations.” The article searingly captured, on all levels, the very real consequences of the lingering pall of American Slavery and the need for reparative justice. After I read it, I felt like I had put my fingers in an electric socket. I haven’t really slept a full night since. And when I combined that knowledge with the compelling data of the white paper from the Global Policy Solutions think tank published just a few months prior, entitled “Beyond Broke”, showing a 15-fold difference between White American and Black American net worth ($111,740 to $7,113), it was crystal clear that there was a causative link between the American slave experience for Blacks and their present profoundly disadvantageous economic state. In the case of the “Beyond Broke” study, when the average gap between Black and White Americans is aggregated across the entirety of the African-American population of 38.8 million people, one arrives at a net worth gap exceeding $4 trillion dollars. More recent data culled from the Federal Reserve puts this gap above $9 trillion dollars.
We started raising $9 trillion over 75 to 100 years in a pickle jar on a prayer altar Shelia had in a spare bedroom in our house. How crazy is that? (Faith crazy.) $40 dollars a clip – for “40 acres and a mule.” We figured we’d start by petitioning the only One we could depend in 400 years to make good on Reparations – the Lord - and we figured He’d take it from there. He has.
Why are Reparations important to America?
The bottom line is that we have to fix this. We can’t wait for the government to pay Reparations – we have to ALL pitch in and pay them ourselves. ALL. OF. US. White. Black. Hispanic. Asian. American born. Immigrant. Private citizen. Corporate citizen. Sovereign state actor. We don’t have to pay Reparations individually because any of us owe them, because none of us do. We have to pay them for one simple reason: if we don’t make this wicked wrong right, we just won’t have much a country for much longer. We have to pay them because it is right for them to be paid, not only to restore Black America financially, but to liberate White America spiritually, and neither one is more important to AASRT, Inc than the other.
What is AASRT's role in the Reparations effort?
AASRT seeks to declare the urgency and essentialness of American slave Reparations to the well-being and long-term survival of the American Experiment and the centrality of God in achieving it. It seeks to provide a tangible and measurable remedy to this horrid injustice of long-standing in a manner that will effectively and sustainably right the wrong of Slavery. And finally, it seeks to liberate the descendants of the slave and master alike from the pain of the enslavement and the shame of the enslaving respectively, so that, by the grace of Almighty God, this long and sad chapter in world history can at last be closed as it was for the Hebrew when reparations were paid in Egypt, and the Red Sea was crossed. (Genesis 12:35-36.)
Darryl L. Fortson, M.D.