Support Local Engagement for Cambridge Reparations Policy

Saskia Vann JamesUncategorized

On June 21st, 2021 Councilor Simmons and Councilor Nolan introduced a historical policy for reparations, policy #141. This policy reflects the work of Evanston, IL City Council laid the groundwork for first-of-its-kind initiative designed to provide reparations to the descendants of those who were enslaved in this country, utilizing tax revenues from the burgeoning marijuana industry in Illinois to fund payments of $25,000 to 16 eligible Black residents to be put towards homeownership and generational equity-building

Cambridge residents have been meeting weekly and would like to have more time to discuss what does reparations mean for them so a policy is developed that has historical reckoning of Cambridge’s founding role with slavery and reflects the voice of local residents.

Currently, MRCC recommends for all Cambridge residents to: 

MRCC believes the voice of Cambridge residents is an imperative part of developing a policy that reflects the will of its black residents and stands in solidarity with local residents. To stay informed and learn more join residential discussions on Monday evenings through the month of August 2021 at: bit.ly/cambridgereparations

This municipal campaign for reparations in Cambridge is part of MRCC’s transformative justice work where we examine systems of oppression and focus on solutions that will strengthen the health of our communities.

MRCC is a publicly funded nonprofit. It is everyday people like that that allows us to continue to move in service towards our communities. To support this campaign please donate at massreccouncil.com/donate To connect for further information and partnerships please contact us at hello@massreccouncil.com.

Established since the legalization of cannabis in 2017, Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council is a BIPOC, women, queer-founded, and cooperatively ran nonprofit in advocacy of transformative justice. Certified through the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, MRCC also invests in public safety, public health, and cooperative education for our communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the War On Drugs.  MRCC is an organization that was birthed partially from Cambridge and Harvard – with one of the co-founders a Harvard graduate – and another a Cambridge resident during the time MRCC was founded.

Since established MRCC has successfully lobbied for Massachusetts to have an equity program, language in a state bill to include grants, loan forgiveness, and an increase for a 25% set aside in cannabis tax revenue to go towards a state social equity fund in a state bill now resting with our state legislatures, instrumental in having several municipalities across the state to roll from cannabis bans to accepting licenses, for the Cannabis Control Commission to recognize cooperatives within their licenses, and so much more. MRCC has taught over 40 public workshops to the general public and social equity/economic empowerment applicants seeking cannabis licenses, including cooperative workshops, Know Your Rights Workshops, responsible consumption workshops, and several others. MRCC is a certified social equity vendor through the Cannabis Control Commission and is leading the cannabis industry in Massachusetts to recognize racial equity and the systemic racism embedded within our legislation and regulations. Healthy consumers means healthy communities and MRCC believes the health of our communities is first priority. Right now MRCC is has several political campaigns including ending the War on Drugs by decriminalizing all drugs on a municipal and state level, supporting efforts for the state of Massachusetts to pause on investing 20-50 million dollars to build prisons, and now a municipal campaign for reparations kicking off in Cambridge.

Saskia VannJames is a lobbyist and board member at Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council. She has been a resident of Cambridge for over 15 years, has a child attending the Cambridge Public School system and works tirelessly to push for transformative justice on behalf of our communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.  Saskia is also the only Black queer woman working as a bike mechanic in the state of Massachusetts at a bike coop and lobbyist in our health and cannabis industry while working at a cooperatively ran nonprofit in Massachusetts. As a JEDi+ belonging trainer, active transit advocate, writer, artist, and community organizer, Saskia brings an intersectional approach towards understanding the health of our communities, impact of climate change on our marginalized communities, and the imperative need for racial equity and solidarity economy as we deal with the number one health crisis declared by our federal government: racism.