Advocating for Racial Justice through Local Redress

Our Mission

The African American Redress Network (AARN) supports organizations on the grassroots, regional and state levels in promoting reparations. Our work addresses U.S. historical racial injustices by facilitating interdisciplinary research, capacity-building, education, and advocacy. We center the needs and goals of our network members as they secure redress at the local level. We focus on fostering collaboration at the local and national levels, supporting and expanding the work of redress activists, and creating a new broad consensus around redress.

2019 Racial Redress Convening

The creation of the AARN is the result of a 2019 Fall Convening, where a cross-section of activists, civil rights lawyers, scholars, faith-based leaders, museum curators, and government officials gathered to develop a framework for dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders working to address racial historical injustices. Members explored explicit micro-redress efforts to further understanding of the development and implementation of U.S. policies and their justice potential. Four themes guided discussions: (1) The Voices of Those Wronged, (2) Institutional Support at the Local Level, (3) Legacy of Harms, and (4) Pathways to Racial Redress. Convening members agreed that a national network addressing these issues was needed. Our work is dedicated to the minds and hearts of those convening members, who collaborated to forward justice and gave birth to the concept of this project.

Partner Institutions

Howard University: The Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center

The Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center is Howard University’s flagship institutional setting for the study of the practice of civil rights, human rights, and racial justice law and advocacy. They seek to achieve racial justice by using a human rights lens to support social movements that seek equal justice under law.

Columbia University: The Institute for the Study of Human Rights

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights advances the field of human rights through critical human rights education, research, reflection, and capacity-building. The Institute fosters critical discussion about the opportunities and challenges of human rights theory and practice, and promotes multi-disciplinary research for those who apply human rights principles in their work.

Steering Committee

Justin Hansford

Executive Director, Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, Howard University.

Meli Short-Colomb

Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics and GU272 Descendant Organization.

Kamm Howard

National Co-Chair of N’COBRA and NAARC Commissioner.

Greg Carr

Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University and Adjunct Faculty at the Howard School of Law.

Michael L. Blakey

National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology and Professor of American Studies at the College of William and Mary.

Valethia Watkins

Professor of Afro American Studies at Howard University.

Linda J. Mann

Executive Director, Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, Northeastern University.

Anderson Flen

Vice-President of C.H.E.S.S. of Africatown, Alabama.

Mario Beatty

Professor of Afro-American Studies at Howard University.

Elazar Barkan

Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and Director of Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights.

Kristina Eberbach

Deputy Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.


Student researchers are the backbone of the AARN. They provide vital support to local redress efforts and sustain our technical assistance partnerships, lead ArcGIS mapping efforts, and maintain communications with AARN members.

What students say about working at the AARN:

“I really enjoy and am constantly inspired by the work and allyship we provide at AARN. As a non-Black POC in America, I believe that my time and labor should be used to support reparation efforts and amplify Black voices” (Cher Lau, Barnard College 2022)

“As a human rights major, I have always been passionate about addressing injustice. While I was historically more focused on international human rights, I was immediately enamoured with AARN’s mission and efforts, which I learned about through Columbia’s Global Research and Consulting Group. I believe that the work is AARN is absolutely necessary, and I’m incredibly honored to be a part of it” (Safia Southey, Columbia University School of General Studies 2021)

“I was passionate about joining the AARN team because of its important work in documenting and supporting local redress and reparations efforts throughout the country. Such efforts to address historical racial injustice in the United States are long overdue, and AARN helps to meaningfully facilitate this process through collaboration, education, and advocacy” (Ilana Hamer, Columbia University School of General Studies 2022)

“I joined the African American Redress Network because I empathize with the goals of the organization. This project is conducting important work that can fix some of the longstanding racial issues that have affected this country for generations. I felt compelled to be a part of such important work” (Avery Brown, Columbia College 2022)

“I joined the African American Redress Network because I was disturbed and angered by the continued inaction towards addressing the generations of enslavement, dispossession, lynching, and systemic discrimination perpetrated against Black communities in the United States. I was also particularly drawn to AARN’s human rights framework, as domestic racial justice issues are often excluded from international human rights discussions” (Claire Choi, Columbia College 2023)

“Racial and social justice are an important part of my professional and personal life. When I learned about the AARN project, I knew I had to be involved. In order to create an equitable society, we must acknowledge our past wrongs and make amends, that is what reparations means to me and the reason why the work of AARN is so important” (Kathy Santana, Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs 2022)