“Restorative Justice and Societal Repair: Global Racism and Reparations”

February 21, 2020 Boston University, 9:00 AM– 4:00 PM
Event Space at the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground
808 Commonwealth Ave., Brookline, Massachusetts

Supported by the Wheelock College of Education, African American Studies Program, African Studies Center, BU Center for Humanities, and Eli Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies

The symposium, “Restorative Justice and Societal Repair: Global Racism and Reparations,” invites academics, students, community activists, cultural artists, theorists, philosophers, and others interested in the ongoing problem of global racism and injustice and the debate over reparations/repair and redress for enslavement, genocide, and colonization of African-descended people. The overall aim is to provide a forum for exchange which might lead to specific outcomes that elaborate recommendations for restitution for past harms, cognitive justice, repair, and transformation of the global community in this UN Decade of African-Descended People.

To register for the event, click here.



9:00 – 9:20 AM Registration & light refreshments

9:20 – 9:30 Welcome by Dr. David Chard, Dean Ad Interim, BU Wheelock College of Education and Human Development

9:30 – 9:40 Introductory remarks by Dr. Angela Onwuachi-Willig, BU School of Law Dean, Professor of Law

9:40 – 9:45 Introduction of Keynote Speaker, Dr. Linda Heywood, BU Professor of History and African American Studies

9:45 – 10:30 AM Keynote Address

Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, President of   CARICOM


10:30 – 10:40 Coffee Break


10:40 – 12:10

Roundtable I

Topic: Globalization, Racialism & Reparations: Contentious Past, Fractious Present

The struggle for reparations for the trafficking, enslavement, and colonization of African people, with their attendant legacy of racial oppression and inequality, has a long and varied history.


Objectives of this Roundtable:

  • Consider reparations as an international movement that is (and has always been) a vibrant focus of African-descended people.
  • Underscore how reparations and restorative justice cover more than just historical slavery.
  • Explore links between historical oppression and injustice and race/racism today.


Moderator: Dr. John Thornton, Professor of History and African American Studies, Boston University



Dr. Nicola Frith, University of Edinburgh (Scotland/UK), Co-Founder/Co-Director of the International Network of Scholars and Activists for Afrikan Reparations (INOSAAR)

Dr. Jemadari Kamara, Professor of Africana Studies and Chair of the Centre for African, Caribbean, and Community Development (CACCD) UMass/Boston

Ms. Yvette Modestin, Poet/Activist, Founder/Exec. Director, Encuentro Diaspora Afro, Boston, MA

Ms. Sophia Parnell, GRS MA Student, Boston University


12:10- 1:30 Lunch


1:30 – 3:00

Roundtable II

Topic: What Might Restorative Justice & Societal Repair Mean in the 21st century?

In 2013, the general assembly of the United Nations declared 2015-2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD or “the Decade”), with the themes and goals of Recognition (the right to equality and non-discrimination), Justice (access to justice) and Development (the right to development and measures against poverty).


Objectives of this Roundtable:

  • Engage the UN themes by exploring what the right to equality and non-discrimination would mean/entail.
  • Consider how access to justice for all as a reparative action might be achieved.
  • Explore how the right to development and measures against poverty might be achieved


Moderator: Dr. Paula Austin, Asst. Professor of History African American Studies, Boston University



Ms. Esther Stanford-Xosei, Juris consult and Vice Chair of the Pan-African Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE)

Hon. Bill Owens, First Black State Senator (ret.) Massachusetts Senate 2nd Suffolk District 1975–1982 & 1989 –1992

Dr. Daivi Rodima-Taylor, Research Associate and Lecturer, Boston University Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Associate of Africans in Boston

Ms. Meredith McDuffie (CAS 2020), Undergraduate Student, Boston University


3:00 – 3:10 Break


3:10 – 3:50 Q & A, Proposed Next Steps

Moderator: Dr. Michael Birenbaum Quintero, Associate Professor and Chair of Music, Musicology & Ethnomusicology, Boston University


3:50- 4:00 Closing Remarks

Dr. Joyce Hope Scott, Clinical Professor of African American Studies, Boston University