On July 15, Natasha Marin, a conceptual artist living in Seattle, started a Facebook group called Reparations. Yesterday, the group bloomed into a website. In the "about" section, Marin describes Reparations as a "social media experiment" that will last through the end of the year
The way it works is pretty straightforward. A person of color makes a request, and a white person can elect to fulfill that request. Some requests so far include a man named Kito asking for money to buy a service dog to help manage his mental health issues, a person named Osiris requesting an angel investor to help them get their business off the ground (or, failing that, a networking dinner with someone who could help in some way), a person named Ana who wants rent money and/or a Chakra cleanse, and a man named Mike who just needs some food.
Alternatively, a white person can offer a service or good, and a person of color can choose to accept it. Local poet and teacher Tara Hardy is offering a free workshop for artists of color who would like to "make a living by going on tour." Karyn Schwartz of Sugar Pill, an apothecary on Capitol Hill, can provide "herbal & natural well-being consultations, classes/workshops for groups on natural strategies for stress management, and free flower essence formulas for additional support."
Want a stick-and-poke tattoo or graphic design services? Ask local writer Jocelyn MacDonald and Jorge Silva Rodighiero, respectively. Need a massage (sort of)? Vanessa Skantze, who has been practicing yoga for 20 years, is happy to help. Other offers include a beer, a lesson on how pot a plant, and money.
To work out the details, white people connect with people of color and vice versa via Facebook. So far, white people have successfully given people of color car rides, money, a trip for four poets to relieve some stress at the Hot House Spa, and advice on revamping a CV.
It’s not yet clear how far participants will take the concept. Stay tuned.