400+1, Who are they?
400 + 1 is a framework constructed to achieve and protect Black liberation and prosperity. This construct encourages diversity in skill and passion among its members while developing a unified ideology. 400 + 1 acknowledges the necessity of building upon the triumphs of our ancestors while critically analyzing the mistakes of the past. Ours is a youth-driven movement that envisions sovereignty as the vehicle to a freedom that has yet to be experienced by the African Diaspora.
Njera Keith is a Diaspora oriented, Black organizer whose focus is the development of movement philosophy and infrastructure that supports cohesion and unity in revolutionary struggle. She is the founder and former Executive Director of Black Sovereign Nation. She is also the co-founder of 400+1, a Black cooperative federation, a liberatory blueprint, and a framework for dramatic economic and political shifts in global, Black life.
Facebook: Njera Keith
Kristina Brown is a social epidemiologist by training with a specialty in the identification and assessment of disparities (race and gender). Principally oriented in Black revolutionary struggle, Kristina is fascinated by the utility of spirit, culture and communications to define and cultivate a revolutionary agenda.
Invested in applying her skills and empowering her community, she is the co-founder and executive director of Counter Balance: ATX. Counter Balance: ATX is a grassroots non-profit organization purposed to improving the quality of life of women of the global majority and impoverished women, by reimagining Black women's relationship to themselves and the world that impacts them.
Most recently, Kristina co-founded 400+1; the world's first Black cooperative federation and Counter Balance's parent organization, to build economic and political power across the Diaspora. It is her hope that this framework will be the vehicle for mass movement and result in propelling Black folx to a world unimaginable, beyond survival.
Kristina is currently exploring how sensory-based experiences can improve the health of the Diasporic consciousness. This includes information about what we are naming as healing habits that result in a holistic resistance to the impacts of racialized oppression.
Facebook: Kristina Brown
Q: How would you define/explain reparations to folx that aren’t familiar with what they are?
A: Reparations are redistributed wealth to Black folx as an effort to create a more equitable society. Wealth redistribution is necessary because of the gross wealth inequity in our society that has developed as a result of colonization, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, discriminatory and anti-Black policy, and capitalism. Black people and their labor have been exploited for centuries. Additionally, Black people suffer from and are subjected to racialized physiological trauma that they aren’t afforded the resources to heal from or combat. Transforming these dynamics requires a new system of resource allocation that takes inequity and need into consideration. Reparations can act as the foundation for this new system.
There are many schools of thought on reparations. Some folx are interested in pursuing government issued reparations. 400+1 is not interested in reparations from the state. We are disinterested in validating state authority and also understand that a one-time payout of reparations will not be enough to address the wealth inequity caused by slavery and other factors. 400+1 is a proponent of reparations as a social responsibility. We ask white folx to voluntarily redistribute their wealth in a way that funds Black, revolutionary movement work so as to ensure that the reparations being disbursed will result in long term, sustainable, equity, liberation and freedom for the Black folx that their ancestors enslaved and they, themselves, through their own investment in systems and institutions of white supremacy continue to marginalize.
Q: How did you create this platform?
A: A: 400+1 was founded as both a framework and a movement theory. We felt that there was a need for a structure that made possible Black unity, Black autonomy, and a cohesive Black strategy for revolution. Early on, we were extremely committed to developing a sustainability model that was not reliant on foundational support (and, obviously, we would never accept strings-attached money from the state). We decided that reparations as a social responsibility could work as funding for our revolutionary movement and worked with a group of white allies to found The Ally Ship. The reparations catalog was one of The Ally Ship’s first concepts and we were, finally, able to get it off the ground.
Q: For black folx looking for assistance, how would the process look like to reach out/ask y’all for funds?
A: 400+1 uses the reparations it receives from The Ally Ship to support Black folx who are ready to commit to the struggle for Black liberation and against capitalism, representative democracy, and white, hegemonic culture. All Black folx have to do is participate, on any level, in 400+1 programming and their request will be placed on the reparations catalog. The first level of 400+1 engagement is our study groups. Black folx interested in receiving reparations through 400+1 can join the A World Beyond Survival study group on Mondays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. via GroupMe (an app), the Reproductive Revolution study group on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. via GroupMe, or the Hands Up, Bust Back study group on Saturday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 also remote and via GroupMe. Submit this form or contact us at email@example.com for more information.
Q: What are other ways non-black people of color can support black people of color?
A: This is a great question. 400+1 is currently interested in building relationships with Indigenous and other people of color for the purpose of founding a sister organization to 400+1. Because 400+1 is a semi-closed economy, it is in our best interest for all of the colonized people of the world to reject capitalism and create alternatives. This will strengthen our position as anti-capitalists and allow us to sustain each other through economic trade and political solidarity without compromising any of our values. Folx who are interested in this initiative should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Easier ways to support us include:
Amplifying the work of 400+1 on social media. It may feel inconsequential, but broadening our audience and reaching more people, in general, is a huge enhancement of our work. Subscribe to our email list! Follow us, share our posts, and tell people about where to find us online!
Buying The Ally Ship’s “I’m about reparations” t-shirts found here.
Engaging your POC fam/friends/community on their anti-Blackness so that we can build true alliance and solidarity.
Collaborating with us! We are always down to co-host teach-ins, workshops, panels and events. We can build the world we want to live in together.
Q: What has been some of the reactions thus far from the allyship or impacts?
A: It can be difficult to get white people to overcome their own guilt and de-center themselves in conversations about building an equitable world. Because of this, we are building The Ally Ship’s leadership slowly and organically and that’s been really rewarding.
In terms of impact, we’ve planted over 130 plants in reparations gardens across Austin since we launched the Reparations Gardening program and distributed $2,500 in reparations funding since we launched the catalog (in January). We’re just getting started!
Q: Are there any stories that come to mind that have come from the allyship?/ Proudest moment to come from putting this together?
A: Our proudest moment is probably distributing $2,500 to our members in January. That was the catalog’s first month of existence so we were glad to be able to partially sustain our members through reparations programming so quickly.
Q: How important is something like the allyship?
A: The Ally Ship is extremely important because it redefines what it means to be an ally to the movement for Black liberation. 400+1 is about cohesion in impetus and ideology. We need white folx to understand what revolution requires and to contribute accordingly. We need them to understand that their futures are tied to the success of Black revolutionaries. And we need them to work to dismantle the systems they create, perpetuate, and uphold. The Ally Ship is a space that allows white folx to do all of that while building their own radical community and shifting the culture of allyship. Without it, 400+1 would not necessarily have white allies we can trust to be in alignment with our principles and our unique strategy.
Q: Are there any other major projects in the works, and if so can we get a sneak peek?
A: Yes! This year, 400+1 is announcing Praxis: A Phrontistery for Black Revolutionaries. Praxis is a three phase political education program that exists to build revolutionary, Black leadership. During the first phase, students will have the opportunity to travel, globally, with 400+1 for a year and a half while learning about the stages of revolution as they’ve manifested globally. Keep an eye out. Look out for our announcement and the enrollment application, coming soon!
Q: What other services does 400+1 offer? (e.g. the observational anti-racism work y’all are doing.)
A: *Laughing* We do e’rrthang! 400+1 sustains its members through cooperative housing and a monthly basic income disbursement. We develop Black, revolutionary leadership through political education, reading retreats and, now, through Praxis. We are building a rapid response to reproductive crisis team in Texas. We stage disruption containers that force people to confront their own harmful conditioning and let it go in preparation for new, revolutionary thought. We are truly out here trying to build a world beyond survival.
Q:Is there anything else you want to shoutout?
A: We want to shout out, you, West Fund for your amazing work and amazing solidarity! Thank you so much.
*socials: || website: www.fourhundredandone.com