Progress on reparations

Following the commitment from Yearly Meeting in 2022, BYM Trustees agreed to establish a Reparations Working Group (RWG). The group's remit is to explore how reparations might be made for the harm done by British Quakers through the transatlantic chattel slave trade, colonialism, and economic exploitation.

old map of the world
Cambridge University Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The RWG has met three times since the autumn of 2023, and has representatives from the central committees of Britain Yearly Meeting, as well as from the Black, Brown and People of Colour Friends' Fellowship. The statement below is an early product of our work together which we hope allows Friends to understand our plans. We know that we cannot work in isolation, and hope that many of you will reach out to connect us with your work and thinking on reparations.

Our intention

Members of the RWG are aware that early Quaker abolitionists sought redress for those who were enslaved. We take up this challenge now. We are also aware of others, Quaker and non-Quaker, who have started work on reparations a long time ago.

We extend our apologies for our tardiness, we are now ready to proceed and have been set up for three to five years.

We hear the calls of Friends requesting reparative justice and the redressing of inequalities. We have discerned that the reparations journey will include work on the following workstreams:

  • researching and documenting the historical record of British Quaker involvement in, and consequent benefit from, transatlantic chattel slavery, colonialism and economic exploitation
  • estimating the financial impact of the harms done
  • understanding the theological arguments used to justify enslavement
  • engaging and networking with Quakers in the UK and worldwide, and identifying: what we can do now within Quaker circles and the wider environment. To whom can we lend a hand / whose hand can we strengthen in the reparations work that they are pursuing?

This will be a lot of work requiring us to live adventurously.

Join the work

We invite Friends and those in the wider Quaker community to join the work of one or more of the workstreams. Please send a message to to express your interest and we will warmly embrace your offer to engage.

With humility, passion and determination, members of the RWG and the workstreams hope to:

  • identify those living with the legacy of harm caused by British Quakers, listen to them and be guided by what they consider constitutes reparations
  • listen to, and learn from, Meetings and other groups and individuals that have already embarked on the reparations journey
  • encourage and learn from reparative actions in the present
  • accompany and, if requested, guide Meetings and individuals who would like to embark on the journey
  • be transparent in our workings – we'll be sharing about our work on the Reparations pages

We will make mistakes and we hope that those on the journey with us will kindly help us understand our failings and course correct if needed.

Throughout the term of the RWG, we will discern the advice that we may offer on making reparations for the harm done by British Quaker involvement in transatlantic chattle slavery, colonialism and economic exploitation.

Ann Morgan, Marghuerita Remi-Judah, Ann Floyd, Christine Habgood-Coote, Debby Flack, Klaus Huber, Paul Whitehouse, Susan Seymour – BYM Reparations Working Group.

Find out more about Quaker reparations work