Church of England to build a $1.3 billion fund to tackle its legacy of slavery

Church of England to build a $1.3 billion fund to tackle its legacy of slavery - Business and Finance - News

Title: The Church of England’s Commitment to Establish a £1 Billion Fund for Reparation and Justice: A Steps Towards Healing the Wounds of Historical Slavery Ties

The Church of England has embraced a groundbreaking report that advocates for the church to spearhead the formation of a £1 billion fund aimed at addressing its historical links to slavery. This recommendation was presented in a report released on Monday, which calls for an initial commitment of £100 million from the church to form the foundation of this larger initiative.

The Church Commissioners, the group responsible for managing the church’s £10.3 billion investments, have accepted the report in its entirety, as stated by the church in a recent announcement. The report was drafted by an independent oversight group consisting primarily of Black experts from various fields, tasked with advising the Commissioners on the creation and management of this new fund.

The Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice was established last year following disclosures that the Church had benefited financially from the South Sea Company, which had ties to the transatlantic slave trade. The fund is intended to invest in Black-led businesses focusing on education, economic empowerment, health, and improving access to land and food for the Black community.

In addition to this, the report urges the Church Commissioners to expand the fund by attracting co-investors and increasing their own allocation. The Church of England, which is the established church in the United Kingdom, is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who also serves as the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican church.

Bishop Rosemarie Mallett, a Barbados native who headed the oversight group, acknowledged that no amount of money can fully rectify the centuries-long impact of African chattel enslavement, but implementing the recommendations will demonstrate the Church Commissioners’ dedication to fostering the healing, repair and justice process for all those affected by this legacy.

Between 1640 and 1807, Britain enslaved approximately 3.1 million Africans and transported them to colonies around the world. Many of these individuals were taken to the Caribbean to work on sugar plantations, where they labored under inhumane conditions that generated immense wealth for their owners through the production and export of sugar, molasses, and rum.

The report emphasizes that crimes against humanity rooted in African chattel enslavement have caused extensive damage that will require substantial effort spanning generations to address. However, it suggests that the process can begin today through both small and large actions.

The report also urges the Church Commissioners to accelerate the delivery of the committed funds earlier than the initially proposed nine-year period. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, noted that the independent work with the Church Commissioners marks only the beginning of a multi-generational response to the heinous evil of transatlantic chattel enslavement.

In 2020, major British institutions, including the Bank of England and insurance market Lloyd’s of London, expressed apologies for their historical ties to the transatlantic slave trade following the Black Lives Matter protests instigated by the murder of George Floyd in the United States. The movement prompted companies worldwide to pledge actions against racial injustice, such as increasing ethnic minority hiring or donating to charitable organizations.