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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

In the absence of broad financial restitution to the descendants of slaves and Black Americans, some people are taking to Twitter to ask for reparations — and transacting through Venmo and Cash App. 

Why it matters: The significant wealth gap in the U.S. between Black and white Americans is the direct result of slavery and systemic racism. Reparations as a potential solution to close that gap is highly divisive, but in motion. 

  • The police killing of George Floyd and subsequent global social movement, along with the creation of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, has helped propel the conversation online. 

By the numbers: There have been more than 91,000 tweets which mention “cashapp reparations,” “venmo reparations,” or “venmo cashapp reparations,” according to an Axios analysis of data from Keyhole, since the start of the year.

  • 27,500 of those tweets, or 30%, were sent around the first official Juneteenth holiday last weekend. 
  • Specifically, posts with Cash App and reparations together appeared 12,200 times compared to 8,700 for posts with Venmo and reparations together; and 6,600 when Venmo, Cash App and reparations appeared together.
  • Peer-to-peer reparations requests also spiked during the Capitol riots on January 6 and the start of Black History Month on February 1 this year.
Expand chart
Data: Keyhole; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

What they’re saying: “Black,” “Juneteenth,” “need,” “people,” and “deserve,” were words that appeared most frequently within the tweets.

  • Venmo and Cash App declined or did not respond to Axios’ request for data.

Remember: Some of the earliest known calls for reparations date back to the 1670s, when Quakers argued for freed slaves to receive compensation.

State of play: Forms of reparations from the federal government being discussed now include direct cash payments to descendents of former slaves, assisted repatriation programs, affordable housing, free college tuition and student loan forgiveness, small business grants and baby bonds.

What to watch: There is also a global conversation taking place. And here in the U.S. more than a dozen cities and towns around the country have started to organize funds or efforts for reparations, including Evanston, Los Angeles, Denver and Amherst.

  • The House Judiciary Committee passed a historic vote in April on a bill that would set up a commission to study the effects of slavery and racial discrimination in the U.S., which President Biden has said he supports.
  • Companies have started to acknowledge their ties to slavery and to work on their own forms of reparations, including Black CEOs who are speaking out about the concept and how it’s not enough of a solution on its own.

The bottom line: “While reparations cannot fully undo the psychological and cumulative emotional trauma of severe oppression, they have worked to some degree to help repair lasting socio-economic damage. That, in turn, allows generations to progress and heal to the point where individuals can participate in the economy fully,” Janice Bryant Howroyd, founder and CEO of The ActOne Group, told CNBC.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tesla delays Cybertruck until 2023

Tesla debuts the Cybertruck in Hawthorne, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla is at risk of falling behind on one of the most critical products in the American auto industry: pickups.

Why it matters: Pickups are the most profitable segment in the business and account for the first, second and third best-selling vehicles in the country. Without a serious pickup strategy, Tesla could miss out on a huge source of future income.

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

4 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.