Frequently Asked 'Questions'

Brown Hope has received media attention from outlets such as Raw Story, the Root, Atlanta Black Star, the New York Times, the Oregonian, and more. The public visibility of our Reparations programs has sparked a number of questions and comments. We have listed answers to feedback we've received over the last few days. If you need additional clarification about our work, please email: brownhopeusa@gmail.com

— Is this a joke?

It’s real. It's a power hour. It's reparations.

— So people of color get free drinks?

No. That assumption was reinforced through misleading headlines published by multiple news outlets. The event was titled “Happy Hour” as a familiar and upbeat description for a social event — in no way have we explicitly promoted alcohol consumption. 

Event attendees received $10 in cash and were able to use that for whatever they wanted to. The majority of folks did not choose to purchase alcohol, though they were welcome to do so. Some attendees have mentioned using it for gas, coffee, and some donated it to a friend in need. Not every event will happen at a bar.  

— Isn't this reverse racism?

Everyone is included in this event. Racially privileged people are invited to contribute financially and to take positive action to support community building between Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.

Living in Portland, the least racially diverse major city in the United States, it is impossible to go through a day without interacting with racial hostility. Hosting an event that takes place for two hours a month is not segregation. Our events aim to create a space of healing, a place for us to feel pain with others who feel our pain. The perpetrators of our pain are asked to not attend.

It’s like a support group — you wouldn’t host an Alcoholic’s Anonymous group with a Tequila manufacturer in the room.

— Are people going to be off the hook for slavery because they gave $10?

No. Brown Hope is elevating the conversation about Reparations, because action is sorely needed on a national and global level.

We are taking initiative. While we wait for Congress to do something, we call on folks to imagine what reparations in their own communities could look like.

— Is this a party?

No. This is a community building event. This is a rare time for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people to come together and create stronger connections with each other. 

Every event features a 45 minute discussion and calls to action about a local and relevant topic to elevate diverse leadership. 

— Calling it a Happy Hour diminishes the gravity and seriousness of reparations.

Reparations is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. We believe we can hold space for the importance of Reparations, while at the same time raising the importance of social gatherings for communities of color.

Historically, Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities have been most prosperous when they built community: close, caring, and courageous communities that could come together and provide solutions. Living in the whitest major city in the United States, our communities have been displaced and divided. Social gatherings are crucial to building community and continuing our journey to prosperity.

— If this event is to benefit Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, why are you patronizing white-owned businesses?

We specifically reach out to businesses in gentrified parts of town, because we have an expectation that they recognize how they have benefited from racism, and to take action. In no way to we endorse the displacement of poor and nonwhite communities.

By hosting our events at a gentrified business, it provides an avenue for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people to be compensated for their pain and suffering. This event empowers us to elevate our presence in spaces we once called home.

— Are Asian people included in the definition of Black, Brown, and Indigenous?

Yes.

Racism and colorism have a complex historical relationship. Some communities who identify as “brown” have benefitted from light skin privilege, and as a racial demographic, are better off than the average Black family. However, Asian Americans have been the targets of racial exclusion, repression and exploitation throughout US history. They deserve reparations, too.

— Are  multiracial people who don't appear brown welcome to the event?

This event is open to anyone who identifies as Black, Brown, Indigenous, and/or Multiracial. As long as someone does not identify with a racially privileged demographic in their daily lives, they are invited to participate in the event. 

We are putting our trust in our attendees to use their discernment and expect that they honor the spirit of why we're doing this event. 

— Happy Hours are unwelcoming to sober people.

We hear you. The organizer of this event has been sober for 27 years. While the Happy Hour isn’t about promoting alcohol consumption, we acknowledge that the name comes off that way. That’s why we’re calling future events Reparations Power Hour.