Esther Stanford-Xosei is a jurisconsult (legal specialist in jurisprudence), reparationist, (reparations activist), dynamic community advocate and historian. She is a modern day abolitionist and freedom fighter, passionate about law, justice and education and using those as tools in resisting forms or oppression and injustice. Carrying on the legacy of Afrikan freedom movements, she is preoccupied with Afrikan Self-Determination from a contemporary Black Nationalist perspective.
She is a champion of reparations as repair, sighting self-repair as being the cornerstone of any people’s process of self-empowerment and restoration of agency (control, empowerment, self-determination). Ultimately transforming, ourselves, families’, communities’, nation and the world in order to leave this earth better than we found it.
For Esther, the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) is not about victimhood and begging colonisers or oppressors for money, but about restoring a people’s human right to be repaired and for them to take charge of that process of doing so. Her work is about recognising the continuing harm of the Maangamizi (Afrikan Hellacaust) and stopping that harm today as ‘guarantees of non-repetition’. By stopping forms of systemic and structural injustice rooted in the Maangamizi, she believes we can begin the process of reconstruction and repair. Her focus is on stopping genocide and ecocide as well as the extraction of wealth and resources from oppressed peoples today as a first step to reclaiming what is owed to such peoples who continue to be dispossessed intergenerationally.
She is an advocate for the collective protection of Global Pan-Afrikan nationhood and the elevation of the feminine principle as part of the transformation process. She has dedicated her life to the struggle, motivated by her desire to leave a better world for future generations.
Esther is currently completing a PhD in the history of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations in the UK at the university of Chichester.
About my activism
Some of the most salient aspects of my organising experience in reparations related organisations, structures and processes as part of the resurgent International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) include serving as:
• Co-Vice Chair, with Kofi Mawuli Klu, of PARCOE (Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe) since 2001.
• N’COBRA (National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America) Europe Regional Representative and member of N’COBRA International Affairs Commission (NIAC) between 2001 and 2005.
• Between 2001 and 2002, I was the Coordinator of FAADAR (Forum of Afrikan & Afrikan Descendants Against Racism) which mobilised the UK delegation to attend the AADWCAR, organised by the Congress Against Racism (Barbados) in association with the Commission of Pan-African Affairs.
• In 2002, I became the UK/Europe Region Representative of the 10 member International Steering Committee of the African & African Descendants World Conference Against Racism (AADWCAR), the official follow-up to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination & Related Intolerance (WCAR), which took place in Barbados. It was at this conference that the International Front for African Reparations (IFAR) was formed and an international strategy developed to initiate legal action for reparations in various Western nations. Arising from this mandate, on 05/05/93, the Black Quest for Justice Campaign (BQJC), in association with PARCOE, (Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe), the Global Afrikan Congress (GAC) and the Black United Front Parliament (BUF-P) initiated the UK strategy to “effect” Pan-Afrikan Reparations by initiating a lawsuit (2003) against the British Head of State and the British Government. This date was chosen in honour and commemoration of the Early Day Motion on the Abuja Proclamation regarding support for Reparations to Afrikans initiated by the late Bernie Grant MP ten years prior on 5th May 2003. I was involved in BQJC, PARCOE and the GAC at the time and played a significant role in the development of this legal and extra-legal strategy.
• I was a Co-founder of the Global Afrikan Congress (GAC). Between 2002 and 2003 I was the Europe Regional Co-Representative of GAC; a position which was shared with Dr Barryl Biekman (Netherlands).
• Between 2003 and 2007 I was the Co-founder and General Secretary of the Afrikan-led cross-community abolitionist heritage learning network, Rendezvous of Victory (ROV) between. ROV partnered with Antislavery International (ASI) to host the first official London Commemorations of 23rd August, the UN Day to commemorate the struggle against slavery and its Abolition in 2003. In 2004 ROV also organised London commemorations of 23rd August which were supported by the Greater London Authority (GLA). The launch of the ROV 2004 programme themed: Commemorations 2004 – 2007: Time to Resolve the Big Question of Reparations was also supported by former Home Office Minister, Fiona Mc Taggert MP who featured at the launch event. After being lobbied by ROV, Fiona McTaggert initiated a debate on slavery in the House of Commons in October 2004 where reparations were mooted.
• Between 2004 and 2013 I was a Board member of Antislavery International (ASI). ASI was the first white-led NGO to develop a pro-reparations policy position in the UK.
• In 2004, I led a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe and represented the Black United Front at the National Liberation Conference which took place in Harare in April 2004. The BUF, the December 12th Movement (USA) and the Aboriginal Nations and Peoples of Australia were the only delegates at the conference that represented Diaspora groupings from outside Afrika.
• In 2005, ROV initiated, in partnership with and the World Development Movement (now called Global Justice Now) the 2007 ‘Bicentenary of the Parliamentary Abolition of the Slave Trade Act Cross Community Forum’(CCF) which operated between 2005 and 2007. The CCF brought a wide diversity of people and interest groups, from within civil society and state, together to debate, challenge and confront ideas and opinions on issues concerning Britain’s role in under-developing Afrika and the Caribbean and effecting reparations for the Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Afrikans (TTEE) and colonialism. It also strengthened activist and NGO networking in galvanising broad engagement on policy, campaigns and strategies as part of taking action to redress the legacies of chattel, colonial and neo-colonial forms of enslavement today.
• Due to my role in ROV, I became a co-founder and member of the Global Justice Forum (GJF) in 2007. The Global Justice Forum (GJF) is a UK-based, Afrikan-led, cross-community network working across sectors to amplify grassroots voices in campaigning for social change. Formed in 2007, the GJF arose out of the 2007 Bicentenary Cross Community Forum. Its central focus is to promote abolitionist heritage action learning (learning through doing) as one of the prime components of bringing about global justice. Abolitionist heritage is the heritage of movements and campaigns which seek to abolish systems of racial, economic, political and cultural domination and all other forms of injustice by challenging beliefs which maintain their existence and replacing them with more humane and effective systems. One of the GJF’s key areas of work focuses on reparations popular education, action learning and cross community mobilisation which promotes activist knowledge gained as a result of reparations activism and advocates the potential of reparations to bring about fundamental structural transformation and global justice for all.
• Between 2003 and 2006, I was the former Secretary General of the Black United Front-Parliament (BUF-P). Under the coalition’s auspices, I co-produced with Kofi Mawuli Klu, the UK version of the historic 1951 ‘We Charge Genocide Petition’ also championed by the National Black United front (NBUF) in the USA which since 2015 has evolved to become the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ Petition of the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC), of which I am the Coordinator-General.
• In 2006, as the UK representative of the N’COBRA, International Affairs Commission and Co-Vice Chair of PARCOE, I was a co-organiser and Coordinator for UK/Europe of the Global Pan-Afrikan Reparations Conference held in Ghana with the theme: ‘Create the Future: Transformation, Reparations, Repatriation, and Reconciliation’ (from 22/07/06 – 01/08/06). This conference was the second global Pan-Afrikan Reparations conference held in Afrika following the historic 1993, ‘First Conference on Reparations for Enslavement, Colonialism and Neo-colonialism’ held in Abuja, Nigeria under the auspices of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
• In 2006, I visited Libya as part of a UK delegation that attended the ‘First General People’s Congress for African Youth and Civil Organisations Inside and Outside the Continent’ in the Libyan capital, Tripoli from 26-28 and represented the cause of Afrikan Reparatory Justice in our group dialogue with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The summit brought over 1500 Afrikan youth leaders from the Continent and Diaspora. It made the United Afrikan States the topical theme for Pan-Afrikanists at the start of the new millennium. The idea of United Afrikan States has been around for nearly two centuries – leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Emperor Haile Selassie, Kwame Nkrumah, proposed this. In the following picture I am asking Colonel Gaddafi about his support for Afrikan reparations. The delegation was coordinated by Kesheni CCI and the Nile Youth Project.
• In 2007, I provided the keynote ‘Africa Day Message’ for the Barbados Government’s Commission of Pan-African Affairs Africa Day Rally.
• In 2010, I initiated the historic employment tribunal case at the Central London Employment Tribunal: Esther Stanford-Xosei v the Women’s Resource Centre. It was my contention that I was constructively dismissed from the organisation on multiple and intersecting grounds of race, religious and philosophical belief as well as my sexual orientation. It was my assertion that that my position as a policy officer was rendered untenable due to my race and ethnicity; advocacy of Black Feminism/s within a white-led organisation with an explicit value of Feminism; my heterosexuality; and heterosexist-racist assumptions about my faith praxis as a adherent of Afrikan Diaspora Religion – a personal synthesis of my Afrikan Hebrew Diaspora cultural heritage, religious and spiritual beliefs. I advocated that this case was a reparations case.
• Between 2012 and 2015 I was the Co-Chair of the iNAPP (Interim National Afrikan People’s Parliament), Co-Chair of iNAPP Legal & Constitutional Subcommittee and co-initiator of the iNAPP Community Law Study, Dialogue & Action Circle between 2012 and 2015. Under my co-leadership with Kofi Mawuli Klu, iNAPP collaborated with the Rastafari Movement UK (RMUK) to develop a joint petition combining efforts to develop an updated version of the ‘We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Petition’ (which became the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ Petition, of the SMWeCGEC in 2015). I was also responsible for co-producing iNAPP’s then ‘Emerging Position on CARICOM Reparations’ which has since been adopted by the Global Afrikan Peoples Parliament (GAPP).
• In 2015, I co-founded the emerging Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP) working on the case and recognition of the Afrikan Heritage Community for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSD) and non-territorial cultural autonomy for Afrikans and people of Afrikan descent in the UK as a form of self-determined collective representation and ‘political’ reparations in the UK.
• In 2014, I Co-founded of the Afrikan Reparations Transnational Community of Practice (ARTCoP) which promotes grassroots scholar-activists, organic intellectuals and academics working on and for reparations with a view to countering fragmentation among the various action-learning (learning through doing) initiatives occurring on reparations.
• In 2012, I co-initiated, in association with Soul Law and PARCOE, of the first action-learning interdisciplinary short course on Afrikan reparations (course curriculum includes weekend intensive version, or 6-10 weeks) hosted by Platform arts and social justice campaigning organisation. Since this time, courses have developed to include ‘An Introduction to the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations’ (2014), and the ‘ISMAR Advocates Course'(2016), ISMAR stands for International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations.
Find out more about the course info below:
• Since 2014, under the auspices of PARCOE, I have been involved in building the Europe Wide NGO Consultative Council For Afrikan Reparations (ENGOCCAR), which is pulling together people working on the reparations dimensions of the civil society responses to the African Union Sixth Region Diaspora Initiative, networks involved in the ‘International Decade for People of African Descent’ (DPAD), and anti-Afrikan racism (Afriphobia) recognition.
• Despite being involved in the organising of the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March since its inception in 2014, in 2015, I became the Vice-Chair of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC) with responsibility for education, public relations and media as well as being the official spokesperson. I am currently involved with planning processes towards the 2021 1st Mosiah Reparations Rebellion Groundings.
In March 2016, I became Co-Chair of Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC). MBC now works mainly through the Popular Educational Complex of Black Empowerment Action Learning (PECOBEAL) to carry educationally forward the purpose of connecting, through the Jeremy Corbyn Support Campaign, the Black Power politics of Black communities of resistance, in and Beyond Britain, into the progressive politics of the wider Labour Movement and society within and beyond the UK. MBC adopts a pro-reparations standpoint in its aims and objectives and seeks educationally to promote strategic and operational unity among and between various ‘politically Black’ communities worldwide in the quest to effect and secure reparatory justice as part of the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM), a core column of which is the ISMAR.
In 2016, I co-hosted and co-organised the International Consultative Preparatory Forum (ICPF) for the Spearhead Pacific Alliance and BOOMERANGCIRCUIT 2017 Pacific Alliance Gathering of Colonised Peoples & Sovereign Peoples Union for Global Justice through Decolonisation and Reparations. I also participated in the Gathering of First Nations and Peoples later in the same year.
In October 2017, I was involved, on behalf of PARCOE, in co-hosting the London launch of the International Network of Scholars & Activists for Afrikan Reparations (INOSAAR). INOSAAR is a collaborative project that is being coordinated by the University of Edinburgh (UK) and Wheelock College (Boston, US). The central purpose of the INOSAAR is to assist in the consolidation of a growing Afrikan global reparations movements by uniting activists and scholars in an international network dedicated to reparations and other forms of transitional justice for the enslavement and genocide of peoples of African descent, including the subsequent oppression and deformation of Afrikan identity. INOSAAR has subsequently developed into a sustained network of which I am a co-facilitator with Dr Nicola Frith & Professor Joyce Hope.
I remain committed to the realisation of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice and recognise the importance of working and struggling together with representatives of the ISMAR in Afrika and other parts of the Afrikan Diaspora to effect, secure and take reparatory justice on our own terms and in our own collective self-determined interests as Afrikan people. In this regard, I have sought to facilitate the amplification of the voices of the Mau Mau Community of Reparatory Justice Interest, the Ablodeduko voice of the Ewe-Fon Aja grouping of the Gbetowo Community of Reparatory Justice Interest, Ovaherero & Nama Community of Reparatory Justice Interest and many other related struggles to transform our world.
In October 2017, I was a guest of honour as part of the Ovaherero Community commemorations of the 113th Anniversary of the Extermination Order to obliterate the Ovaherero people which took place in Namibia.
In November 2018, on behalf of the SMWeCGEC and given the importance of ending ecocide as a goal of securing holistic reparatory justice, I participated in Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) first #RebellionDay. Since this time, I co-founded the Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network (XRISN). This work is essential to PRIM-Building which is essential to the realisation of the goals of the ISMAR.
In 2018, under the auspices of the Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign, I co-founded and became Chair of the Maangamizi Educational Trust, which is the SMWeCGEC’s educational arm.
In 2020, I became the Media & Communications Coordinator of the Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network (XRISN), with Kofi Mawuli Klu under the auspices of the SMWeCGEC, I co-founded the XRISN in 2019 after the 1st Rebellion Day in October 2018 of Extinction Rebellion. This article explains why I as a reparationist got involved in Extinction Rebellion (XR). Through the work of XRISN, we were able to get support from XR for the 2020 Reparations Rebellion Groundings which took place in Brixton on 1st Mosiah (August) 2020.
Films, Radio & TV
I have featured in the multi-award-winning documentary 500 Years Later (2005) alongside Maulana Karenga, Muhammed Shareef, Francis Cress Welsing, Hakim Adi, Kimani Nehusi, Paul Robeson Jr. The film was written by M. K. Asante, Jr. and directed by Owen Alik Shahadah.
I also appeared in Motherland, the first Afrikan production to traverse the diverse history and rich culture of the Afrikan continent to examine the challenges of Afrika. Motherland is directed by Owen Alik Shahadah and produced by M.K. Asante, Jr.
I feature in this short film ‘Legacies of African Enslavement in Hackney’. The film is the result of a partnership between University College London’s Legacies of British Slave Ownership Project, Hackney Museum and Archives, funded by Arts Council England through the Share Academy programme.
I have also appeared on various BBC, Sky and Channel 4 news and documentary programmes as well as other programming such as for Press TV and Russia Today where I have advocated from a Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice perspective.
Words from an interview I gave for the Majesty & The Movement Exhibition are featured on a track called ‘Reparations Now’ which features on the Unconquered CD by Ras Cos Tafari which also features some of the leading lights in Rastafari -songs- poems- speeches – reasoning over an acoustic blend of Bingi drums, guitars double bass, horns flutes and percussions.
I have a small cameo appearance in ‘Are you free’ by Kasiri:
I am also briefly featured in ‘Be Inspired’ by Jaja Soze:
Thanks to the Dynamix CIC “Unsung Sheroes and Heroes of Afrikan Heritage” programme I was fortunate enough to have a mural painted of me painted by Neequaye Dreph Dsane
My Interdisciplinary Reparations Praxis
By vocation, I am a jurisconsult (legal specialist is the science and philosophy of applied law and jurisprudence) and human and people’s law practitioner although my work is confined to working on the legal and extra-legal dimensions of taking, effecting and securing holistic reparations, self-determination, nationhood and sovereignty.
I am a former legal adviser to the Black Quest for Justice Campaign (BQJC) which initiated a legal and extra-legal strategy to effect and secure reparations in 2003. The strategy is still live and work continues on developing alternative legal and justice frameworks to adjudicate the case for Afrikan reparations which is not just about conventional legal strategies. A key pillar of such a strategy from 2004 to the present includes the establishment of a UK All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) as well as the development of local, national and international configurations of the Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (U-PITGJ), otherwise known as the Ubuntukgotlas, as an alternative justice mechanism being worked out by various representatives of the People’s International Reparations Movement (PRIM). The PRIM is essentially all other peoples who have experienced European enslavement and/or settler colonialism (Aboriginals of Australia, First Nations/ indigenous peoples, Afrikan Descendant communities in Abya Yala (the so-called Americas), Moors, Maroons, etc.).
I am currently developing scholar-activist competencies as one of the few activist and emerging academic his/herstorians of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) and the first in the UK. My doctoral research at the University of Chichester which is being conducted in the action-research paradigm, is entitled ‘Our Movement is One: Afrikan Contributions from London Between 1990 to 2018 in Charting the Historical Trajectory of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR)’ and focuses on reparations historiography in the UK going back to the 18th century, although my focus is on the last 28 years of reparations activism between 1990 and 2018. It is also the first such PhD research in the world to adopt an action learning and oral history methodology of interviewing living reparations activists as rather than focusing on the political, moral or legal arguments for reparations, I focus on what we as a movement have been doing to effect and secure reparatory justice. This is a video in which I speak about the PhD as part of the University of Chichester initiated History Matters Conference spearheaded by my doctoral supervisor Professor Hakim Adi and other members of the History Matters Group.
I am also conducting independent research on the role, experiences and contributions of women in the ISMAR and best practices in creating gender-just social movements. As an activist researcher and educator (currently doing my PG CERT in Education alongside my PhD, I have already done the PTLLS course, Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Leaning Sector). I am engaged in cooperative-inquiry on social movement learning processes within the ISMAR. I am very much committed to increasing awareness of the fact that reparations is a social movement and that social movements cannot be reduced to one or another social movement organisation. My specific contributions include developing programmes and initiatives which promote, support and facilitate social movement-building, reparations social movement education (i.e. learning, teaching and praxis), training and research; law (including international law) ‘from below’, in addition to effecting and securing holistic, transformative, intersectional and intercommunal reparations.
I have authored chapters in the following books:
Remembered: In Memoriam: An Anthology of African & Caribbean Experiences WWI & WWII (2017) edited by Jak Beulah & Nairobi Thompson- Chapter ‘Reparations: Why all the fuss?
Rhodes Must Fall: The Struggle to Decolonise the Racist Heart of Empire (2018) edited by Rhodes Must Fall Oxford – Chapter ‘Decolonizing Reparations: Intersectionality and African Heritage Community Repairs’
- Black British History: New Perspectives (2019) edited by Professor Hakim Adi – Chapter ‘The Long Road of Pan-African Liberation to Reparatory Justice’
Recognition of my contribution to reparations scholar-activism can be found in the following articles etc:
- Book chapter in ‘The Most Influential Contemporary Diaspora Leaders’ (2016) edited by Dr Roland Holou
- Inclusion in the book chapter ‘African Descendant Women and the Global Reparations Movement’ by Professor Adjoa A. Aiyetoro in Black Women and International Law (2015) edited by Dr Jeremy I. Levitt.
- My activism is highlighted in the book Influentials: Character and Influence Stories of Global Afro Women by Lillian L. Thompson (2019).
Case Study for Academic Course
I am one of the list of women students are encouraged to research in the Women in Revolution Course taught by Dr June Scorza Terpstra at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU).
On recognition of my influence in contributing to artistic reparations consciousness, see this interview by Akala (2016) on contributory influences for his track Maangamizi.
The following are a selection of some of the advocacy that I have done on Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice on a variety of platforms:
This list does not include the range of teaching and learning engagements, presentations and representations made or media appearances where I have promoted and sought to enrich public information, awareness, conscientisation, knowledge and discourse on reparations.