Reparations: Solidarity with our BIPOC Neighbors

OUR BRIEF SUMMATION OF OUR LIFELONG CIVIL RIGHTS HISTORY:

At 17 years of age, Bob and Jenny met the loves of their lives (each other) as freshmen in college.  Within their classes, they were studying the tragedy of apartheid in South Africa, as they were concurrently studying the soon and coming Voting Rights Act of 1964.  Outside of class, they were members of Jr. NAACP, and Jenny unsuccessfully attempted to start a college campus chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).  (She had personally been taught her first piano lessons by beloved, departed Bayard Rustin, and a short time later she had personally volunteered for our beloved, departed Dr. James Farmer, Jr. at CORE.)

Bob and Jenny’s successes were, however, marching in solidarity…..from marching together shoulder-to-shoulder in the sympathy march for Selma (from Eastlake Park to the Arizona Capital, to marching with Senor Cesar Chavez, protesting under his guiding wing at a sit-in at the Capital and at the fields, to the ultimate march, in attending beloved and unsurpassed President Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Inauguration.

Solely because of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jenny chose her vocation, and attended Seminary.

As the journey continues in solidarity to serve our neighbors with struggles toward freedom and equality, towards ending segregation and oppression, Bob and Jenny welcome you to march alongside us. (Please also read Our Histories/Biographies at the top of the page.)

Here, Good and Thoughtful Friends, are our eight BIPOC Reparations successes, from Navajo Mountain to Black Wall Street to La Victoria to Maricopa and Jefferson Counties, within Indigenous education, Black farming, homeless racial equity, and recognition of authentic history.

Initially launched on Juneteenth 2020, it is ongoing; for more information, here is Jenny’s telephone number 480-262-3545.

“Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act

This bill establishes the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans. The commission shall examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.

The commission shall identify (1) the role of the federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, (2) forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) lingering negative effects of slavery on living African Americans and society.”

OUR REPARATIONS:

Following the tortured death of George Floyd, during our 2020 Summer’s Juneteenth field activism and debrief retreat, our Ramsey Social Justice Foundation team created a mission for Black/Indigenous (BIPOC) Reparations –  The Feminine.

Launching officially with scalable activism, our reparations have been dedicated initially to the municipal areas of Tempe, Phoenix, Tulsa, and New York City, focused on the feminine.

Friends of the Foundation, of the Cause, we invite you to ask Jenny about joining.  There will be a need for nothing other than your words, your own memories and personal stories to evoke the need for reparations, your memories about the tragedy of beloved Emmett Till, the exegetical song of Billie Holiday, the long frightening ride of Rosa Parks, the work on the streets and in the fields of family friends, Bayard Rustin, Dick Gregory, James Farmer, Cesar Chavez, Brother Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (who is the singular, only reason that Jenny became a seminarian), Dolores Fuentes, Dorie Ladner, our capable historical guide Dr. Ricco Wright, and Fellowship of Reconciliation scholar Mr. David Ragland.  In return, we promise you just two things: sacrifice and joy. We invite you to write: Jenny@ramseysocialjusticefoundation.org

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Author/Scribe Ben Rollins informs us about the historical injustice of our Black and POC musicians and songwriters, writing:

“The world owes an enormous debt to the magnificent black musicians whose soul and sounds provided the wellspring for so much of what has become American Music. From medicine shows and cake walks, from minstrelsy to the blues, from jazz to hip hop, from rock and roll to doo-wop, from gospel music to soul, it’s almost impossible to imagine what the world’s music would sound like without their talent and influence. America has a long history of undervaluing and underpaying black creators, especially as far as recorded music is concerned. I’m not sure these wrongs can be easily righted, but there is a simple fix going forward. Record companies can acknowledge the onerous contracts to which black singers, songwriters and performers were signed and reassess how those artists are paid. From Blind Lemon Jefferson to John Coltrane and all the way back again, there’s a great injustice that should be rectified.”
– Ben Rollins

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David Ragland, of Truth Telling Project and The Fellowship of Reconciliation, lifts his voice in support of long overdue “land acknowledgment by the northeast farmers of color”. Quoting Potawatomi Nation’s author Robin Wall Kimmerer, David continues, “In the settler mind, land was property, real estate, capital, or natural resources. But to our people, it was everything: identity, the connection to our ancestors,” and Mr. Ragland voices the injustice, saying to us: “they see the acknowledgment as a prayer and the land connected to our ancestors.”

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Director Steve Higgins, Executive Director, The Bob Dylan Center; Director/Member Emeritus Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice teaches us:

“Tulsa has taken some steps to address school and street names connected to KKK members. Tate Brady was a city father and KKK leader whose name is pervasive here. The burgeoning arts district was known as the Brady District until a few years ago when the city began reckoning with the issue. Now, the century-old Brady Theater is the Tulsa Theater. The district is the Tulsa Arts District. And, most importantly to me, the Bob Dylan Center will be located on Reconciliation Way (instead of Brady Street).”

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Tribal Leader, Consultant, Commander Jefferson JL Begay, quietly voices, “I will be burning cedar tonight and will say a prayer, for this honor to our mother and father:”

Two grants, eponymously named for the founders of Navajo Mountain High School, Stella Rose Drake and Harold Navajo Drake will become part of our Indigenous reparations, benefiting outstanding hardworking worthy students/scholars whose ancestors’ devastating history of being kidnapped, boarded, and tormented in “Indian Schools” can never be changed, but whose education will guarantee their futures will never be as bleak.

 

Dr. Ricco Wright, Black Wall Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Central Arizona Shelter Services original campus, pre-building, cleared by Mayor Terry Goddard and Vice Mayor Calvin C. Goode (inhabited by high majority Indigenous, circa 1980).

Original Norton and Ramsey Center, before re-naming it to Esquer and Ramsey Center: Food Pantry, Homeless Shelter, Services for our Least Among Us:

Quiet Quaker Bob Ramsey, Founder/Director of The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation and eighth-generation abolitionist, voiced the success of our reparations in honoring Señora Lupe Esquer, co-founder of Tempe’s center, as he says, “While hearing First Lady Michelle Obama tell all of us that one morning, she woke up in a house built by slaves, my heart was pierced.  Plus, I identified.  I live in a wonderful college town, settled and built by our Mexican-American community, their ancestors, our Latino brothers and sisters, whose glorious history of creating our Tempe, sadly, has been becoming invisible.  It’s time.  Our community center for the underrepresented will now honor la Señora Lupe Esquer, most-loved and departed activista, friend and neighbor of La Victoria and Escalante neighborhoods, as our Tempe Community Action Program/Agency will become The Esquer and Ramsey Center.” Excerpted, with deepest love to you, and for our Reparations Cause, dear Good Friends:

“TCAA’s main location on Apache Boulevard in Tempe was initially named the Norton and Ramsey Center in honor of long-time volunteers and activists Jenny Norton, whose mother helped found TCAA along with Lupe, and her husband Bob Ramsey. The renamed Esquer and Ramsey Center honors TCAA’s true history and its origins.

“With this new dedication to my mother’s dear friend Lupe, my pride only swells. I am beyond grateful that the TCAA and the City of Tempe have enabled this moment for Lupe Esquer,” Jenny Norton said.”

Our City of Tempe is the pioneer of municipally funding Human Services for our citizens, first, within our Nation’s long history of providing funding care. We salute Tempe.

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Following the center’s renaming, an African-American staff member’s hiring has been funded to oversee issue of racial equity at the Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) homeless shelter in Phoenix; also two annual indigenous high school scholarships have been endowed at the Navajo Mountain High School, named for Stella and Harold Begay Blake; plus, a pre-school scholarship in Tempe has been established in the name of Navajo Codetalker George Kirk; a scholar-in-residence David Ragland has been funded at the Black Wall Street Gallery of Tulsa and New York City; a feminine youth entrepreneur funding has been established in the name of Madame Walker; a Black-space farm has received start-up funds in Jefferson County, New York; pending is a Black musicians reparations “prize” named for civil rights musical recording artist Mavis Staples.

Esquer and Ramsey Center.

 


Indian School Boarding School housing kidnapped Indigenous children.

 

Commander Jefferson Begay and Navajo Mountain High School Scholars, above and below:

 

Nadia Muy, founder Liberation Farm, Jefferson County, New York: