Children's Express is an international, non-profit news syndicate that produces stories by young journalists, 8-18, for adult media.
for Equality or Excuses?
After attending a reparations rally in Los Angeles, two Childrens Express editors, an African American male from Los Angeles, and a white female from Marquette, Mich. share their impressions.
In a fenced in field near
39th and Vermont in Los Angeles, hung a sign: Reparations Now for African
A Man in a Cage
Over to the side was black
man who had built a cage around himself. He looked like a crazy bum
in a prison cell. He was playing the banjo and calling out to bypassers.
He wanted us to understand what it was like to have your heritage taken away and he wanted us to discuss his message with others. He told us to research our family histories and figure out how many people it actually took to produce ourselves. His point was to respect your history and realize that way back in history we all are related.
Can We Still Be Friends
On stage, speaker after speaker talked about reparations. They wanted us to empower ourselves, to stand for what we believed in but they avoided saying specifically what type of reparations would be appropriate.
We want grants for colleges for our children, a few said, we want home loans and we want money. They said it would make up for the gap in African Americans daily life.
One person we spoke to explained it this way: When you and your friend get angry with each other, you may not speak to the other person for several months or years but when you come together, you say Im sorry. I didnt mean it. Can we still be friends? Can we make amends?
That is what the reparations
should be like we were told. The government needs to be responsible
for apologizing, just like it apologized to the Japanese
Sacrifices for a Better Life
As a black man Josh thinks there should be some type of reparations but says his life isnt affected by not being compensated.
His life is good, he says, admitting he may be self-centered. He lives in a two-story house. His mom drives a brand new 2000 Camery. But he owes his situation to the people in his family who have made sacrifices to make sure he would have a better life than they did. And he does.
Now Josh has
as much of a chance as anybody else because of his family and because
of people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcom X. These
people made a lot of good advances in the civil rights movement to make
sure Joshs generation would be equal wherever and be able to advance
themselves in educational environment as well in society.
attended this event she had never heard of reparations. There are no
minorities where she lives in Michigan but she thinks our country should
be fair to all people. She wants her country to follow through with
reparations, but she doesnt think shed march down the street
in support of this issue.
It basically comes down to equality, said Alessa. If the country gave money to other groups for things we have done wrong to them we should provide the same reparations to African Americans. We should make our actions do what our words say.
We talk about equality and equal opportunity, but does it exist, she wondered. They are old wounds but they are still open. If people are affected by our history we are not beyond it.
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