Racial Redress and Reparations Conference – 2021

On December 1, 2021, CRRJ and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University convened a conference on policy approaches to redressing historical racial harms.

Recent years have seen heightened calls for the redress and remediation of historical racial injustice. Policymakers have responded with initiatives that take meaningful steps to address the United States’ long legacy of racial violence and injustice.

This convening took a close look at the current laws and proposals put forth by those legislators and public officials who are at the forefront of these efforts. The conference brought together lawmakers, academic experts, and advocates from across the country to explore legislative efforts to launch government-sponsored truth proceedings and reparations programs.


December 1, 2021


Virtual Conference via Zoom


  • Margaret Burnham, Director, Civil Rights & Restorative Justice Project, and Professor of Law, Northeastern University
  • Andrea Campbell, City Councilor, Boston
  • Nicholas Creary, Commissioner, Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Theodore C. Landsmark, Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University
  • Jennifer Llewellyn, Professor of Law and Restorative Justice Chair, Dalhousie University
  • Kamilah Moore, Chair, California Reparations Task Force
  • Melissa Nobles, Chancellor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Joseline Peña-Melnyk, State Delegate, Maryland
  • David Reid, State Delegate, Virginia
  • Robin Rue Simmons, Executive Director, FirstRepair, and former Alderman, City of Evanston, IL

Opening Remarks & Keynote

00:00 – Margaret Burnham

02:15 – James Hackney

02:57 – Uta Poiger

08:40 – Melissa Nobles

State and Local Truth-Seeking Initiatives

00:00 – Margaret Burnham

02:04 – Jennifer Llewellyn

07:13 – Joseline Peña-Melnyk

15:53 – Nicholas Creary

23:40 – Andrea Campbell

33:16  Moderated Discussion

State and Local Reparations Legislation

00:00 – Margaret Burnham

02:17 – Theodore C. Landsmark

07:54 – Kamilah Moore

17:58 – Robin Rue Simmons

26:19 – David Reid

34:11 – Moderated Discussion

59:07 – Closing Remarks

Afternoon Convening

In the afternoon, legislators and public officials from across the country participated in an invite-only convening in which they explored fundamental questions about how to design and implement successful redress initiatives. Participants discussed how to structure and implement truth-seeking and reparations policies; approaches to community engagement; effective responses to opposition; and what social and political conditions allow for a successful campaign, among other topics.

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