Reparations are actions or measures taken to compensate or make amends for harm or injury that has been inflicted. In the context of racial justice, reparations refer specifically to efforts to address the legacy of slavery and racial discrimination in the United States by providing compensation to the descendants of enslaved people and other marginalized communities. Reparations may take various forms, such as financial payments, land or property restitution, education or training programs, or other forms of assistance.

Reparations are necessary to repair the damage caused by centuries of racial discrimination and to help to address ongoing inequalities. Those against reparations argue that reparations would be difficult to implement, that they would be unfairly costly to the descendants of slaveholders or other non-victims, or that they would be divisive or counterproductive.

Take Action

Here’s how you can advocate for reparations on the local, state and federal level.

Get Educated

Learn more about the history and context of reparations. This can involve reading books, articles, and other materials on the topic, as well as learning about the experiences and perspectives of marginalized communities.

Join Local Efforts

Search for groups in your community that are working on issues related to reparations, such as racial justice organizations, civil rights groups, or advocacy groups. Joining these organizations or groups and participating in their work can be a way to advocate for reparations at the local level.

Contact Your Elected Representatives

Reach out to your elected representatives, such as your city council members or state legislators, and express your support for the issue. You can write letters, make phone calls, or attend town halls or other events to make your views known.


Depending on the context, participating in protests or other forms of civil disobedience can be an effective way to bring attention to the issue of reparations and to advocate for change.

Educate Others

Share articles, blog posts, or other materials on social media or in other forums that your community uses. This helps to spark interest and engagement with those around you to join your efforts.

Learn More

The Fight to End the Death Penalty and Save Leonard Taylor

“I feel real positive and real prayerful that I will get a stay of execution,” said Leonard “Raheem” Taylor, a Black Missouri man scheduled to be killed next week for a crime he is emphatic that he did not commit. On December 3, 2004, Taylor’s girlfriend, Angela Rowe, and her three children were found shot to death […]

The Lasting Impact of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

The signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the U.S. invasion of Mexico, but the effects continue to impact Latine communities today.

How Equity Can Build Better Organizations

We know that the responsibility of advancing DEI doesn’t just lie with individuals who hold positional power—it requires all of us.

The Threat to Holocaust Remembrance

Growing attacks on anti-racist education threaten Holocaust education and feed into antisemitism.

Why Reform Falls Short in Stopping Police Violence

Last year became the deadliest year for fatal police encounters, despite calls for reform and racial justice after the 2020 protests.

Closing the Black-White Life Expectancy Gap

Black and Brown populations have continued to fall behind the average life expectancy of white populations—a chasm that has widened considerably in the wake of COVID-19.

Related Words and Phrases

Join the newsletter crew.

Learn a new term each day in our free daily newsletter.