reparations evanston illinois
Robin Rue Simmons, City Councilor for Evanston's 5th Ward. / AP
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The city council in Evanston, Illinois voted 8-1 to approve the city’s first-of-its-kind reparations program Monday evening. Councilors designed it to compensate Black residents for racist housing policies that robbed communities of wealth. The program caught national attention when leaders introduced it in 2019,  the first city to move beyond simply discussing reparations.

Officials say the sales tax revenue and donations will fund the $10 million program. The specific portion of the $10 million program that councilors approved Monday establishes a $400,000 housing grant program.

To be eligible, residents must be a black person who lived in Evanston between 1919 to 1969, or a descendant of such a person. Moreover, applicants also qualify if they’ve been a victim of discrimination due to the city’s policies or practices after 1969.

Reparations program a “first step”

In particular, eligible applicants will be awarded up to $25,000 according to Kimberly Richardson, the interim assistant city manager for Evanston, Illinois. The fund will help with a home down-payment or closing cost assistance within the city. Recipients can also use it to help pay for repairs, improvements or modernizations of an Evanston property. More than that, the fund will assist homeowners in paying down mortgage principal, interest, or late penalties.

Robin Rue Simmons, who first proposed the reparations initiative, said the specific portion approved on Monday represented a first step. “It is, alone, not enough,” Simmons said. “We all know that the road to repair and justice in the Black community is going to be a generation of work. It’s going to be many programs and initiatives, and more funding.”

Likewise,  a leader in the fight for reparations also released a statement. “We’re very excited to see the first national direct benefit from some of the harms we’ve had to experience from the past,” said Kamm Howard, co-chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. “The more local initiatives [that] occur, the more impetus there is on the federal government to act.”

Mike Creef is a fighter for equality and justice for all. Growing up bi-racial (Jamaican-American) on the east coast allowed him to experience many different cultures and beliefs that helped give him a...

One reply on “Illinois City First in Nation to Provide Reparations to Black Residents.”

  1. What is so amazing is the shock and dismay Republicans show when reparations are ever brought up. They say “I never owned a slave”. Like that has any relevance at all to the issue. The racists just have a real problem with people of color getting anything of value, period. Like the new Georgia Congressional Representative, QAnon Karen, screaming that the Pandemic payments to Black Farmers in the Biden bill are “Reparations”.. No problem with the free giveaways to Fast Food Chains who lined up for “small business payments”. or all the bankrupting fracking companies, bankrupting to avoid cleaning up the toxic mess left behind and then paying themselves a bonus that just happened to match the amount of the Cares Act company payment to retain employees. All the money taken by a few owners who were leaving the destroyed land behind and burning all of their employees and subs thru bankruptcy, pocketing the money given them to make their now non-existent payroll.
    Republicans can steal our tax revenues left and right but if a black farmer gets a nickel it’s “reparations” and the scandal of the century. They are such frauds..

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