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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

The Exvangelicals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even as evangelicals maintain their position as the most popular religion in the U.S., a movement of self-described "exvangelicals" is breaking away, using social media to engage tens of thousands of former faithful.

The big picture: Donald Trump's presidency, as well as movements around LGBTQ rights, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, drew more Americans into evangelical churches while also pushing some existing members away.

Updated 5 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.

6 hours ago - World

Hong Kong holds first "patriots only" elections

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a news conference last Monday. Photo: Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua via Getty Images

Hong Kong's elections to choose the city's Election Committee members opened to a select group of voters on Sunday, under a new "patriots only" system imposed by China's government.

Why it matters: All candidates running to be members of the electoral college have been "vetted" by Beijing, per Reuters. They will go on to choose the Asian financial hub's next leader, approved by China's government, and some of its legislature.