Blavity previously reported how BBC reporter Laura Trevelyan jumped into action following the revelation of her ancestors’ extensive involvement in slavery in Grenada. After learning that her family had not only profited from its large slaveholding plantations there but received compensation following slavery’s abolition, Trevelyan pledged over $120,000 of her savings to economic development in the country while also apologizing for her family’s exploitation of Black people. Since making these moves, Trevelyan has gone from reporter to reparations advocate.

From BBC reporter to ‘roving advocate’ for reparations

Trevelyan made good on her promises, issuing a public apology on behalf of her family to the prime minister of Grenada and giving $127,000 for education in the country. The money came from her BBC pension, which she cashed out as she left the network for which she had worked for 30 years. Trevelyan left her job to become a “roving advocate” for reparations, working with several organizations and public officials to push the case for official apologies and reparations for slavery.

Trevelyan is a member of Heirs of Slavery. This organization has brought together families from across many Western nations to make amends for their ancestors’ participation in slavery. And the P.J. Patterson Institute for African-Caribbean Advocacy at the University of the West Indies recently named Trevelyan as a fellow, announcing she would help “to strengthen the Institute’s role as a significant advocacy [organization] capable of facilitating positive change, extending its outreach in the global space and strengthening ties between the motherland and the diaspora.”

Calls for King Charles to apologize, implement reparations

In an interview with People, Trevelyan recently called for the United Kingdom’s King Charles to “apologize for the royal family’s historic links to slavery and make a meaningful financial gesture that would be seen as reparative.” Drawing on the example of the Netherlands, the government and the country’s king recently apologized for Dutch slavery. The Dutch example shows that officially apologizing for slavery “is not just possible, but it’s important to do.” She added that “the sky hasn’t fallen in, in the Netherlands. That means it could happen in Britain.” She urged the king to act not only as the British monarch but also as leader of the British Commonwealth and head of the Church of England. “The church has apologized for its historic links to slavery and set up a hundred million pound fund.”

Trevelyan’s words add to a growing chorus of voices calling on the British government and monarchy to issue both apologies and payments for slavery and imperialism. Charles and other representatives of the British royal family have expressed “sorrow” for slavery and imperialism in recent years. The king also recently authorized an investigation into the royal family’s involvement in slavery. But he has stopped short of apologizing for this involvement or offering reparations for the descendants of nations impacted by the slave trade and imperialism, even though nations like Jamaica have demanded these moves.

Whether King Charles or the British government will agree to these requests remains to be seen. But as the voices of peoples and countries impacted by the long legacy of slavery and imperialism grow louder in their calls for justice, allies like Trevelyan are seeking to do their parts to support these movements. A few, like Trevelyan, have gone further than others, dedicating not only their voices but their money to the cause.