Got Reparations? Chicago Suburb May Be First on Board

Got Reparations? Chicago Suburb May Be First on Board

A predominantly white Chicago suburb known for its “liberal activism” is preparing to take it amongst their “woke” selves to right the wrongs of the historic days of slavery. Evanston has a population of about 74,000 and is attempting to become the first American city to pay reparations.

The Associated Press reports:

Acknowledging past racist policies, Evanston is giving eligible Black residents $25,000 housing grants for down payments, repairs or existing mortgages this year. Although the approach is considered a model and homeowners like Murray are ready to apply, some Black residents say the effort falls short and true atonement hasn’t begun.

The idea of reparations wasn’t a hard sell in the predominantly white Chicago suburb of about 74,000 that’s known for liberal activism, intellectual discourse and Northwestern University. Alderwoman Robin Rue Simmons, a fourth-generation Black resident, spearheaded the effort after studying racial disparity data, which shows the average income of Black families in Evanston is $46,000 less than white families.

“We had to create ordinances and laws that said we are committed to inclusion in a tangible way, not just in a sign, not just in a resolution, but with our budget,” said Simmons, who represents the predominantly Black 5th Ward.

Last summer’s reckoning over racial injustice revived interest in reparations in communities across the country, including the state of California and cities like Chicago; Amherst, Massachusetts; Asheville, North Carolina; and Iowa City, Iowa. Federal legislation for a commission has also gained traction.

The Rev. Michael Nabors, a local NAACP chapter president who leads Evanston’s Second Baptist Church, said this is the most exciting time in his 61 years. “It is Evanston today and, in my opinion, it is going to be the United States tomorrow,” he said. “We are leading the way.”

But not everyone is on board. Alderwoman Cicely Fleming who is the only one to vote against the grants, says she is a supporter of reparations, but what Evanston is doing is not that. “Instead of giving money to banks, direct cash payments would give Black people power in deciding how they need repair…the bank continues to be the largest beneficiary and perpetrator of housing discrimination,” said Fleming who is Black.

“It really lays under the guise of a narrative that poor and/or African American people don’t know how to manage their money. Therefore, when the government gives them money, there are lots of parameters on how they can use it” added Fleming.


Evanston, IL to Become First City to Give Reparations to Black Residents

Evanston, Illinois is set to become the first city in the U.S. to give reparations to black residents.

The city, which is just north of Chicago, “voted to approve a groundbreaking measure in 2019 in which the city would financially compensate its Black residents to address the wealth and opportunity gaps they have experienced because of historical racism and discrimination,” reports NBC News.

Evanston will give out $10 million over 10 years after raising donations and using revenue from a recreational cannabis tax. 

According to officials, the first $400,000 will be used to address housing needs and the City Council is set to vote on the matter on March 22.

In the first phase of the program, residents can obtain $25,000 to put towards homeownership, mortgage assistance or home improvement. In order to qualify, they must have “lived in or been a direct descendant of a Black person who lived in Evanston between 1919 to 1969 who suffered discrimination in housing because of city ordinances, policies or practices,” reports NBC.

Robin Rue Simmons, an Evanston alderman who introduced the legislation said, “Reparations is the most appropriate legislative response to the historic practices and the contemporary conditions of the Black community. And although many of the anti-Black policies have been outlawed, many remain embedded in policy, including zoning and other government practices.” 

“We are in a time in history where this nation more broadly has not only the will and awareness of why reparations is due, but the heart to advance it,” Simmons said.

For the full report, click HERE.

Harvard Researchers: COVID Transmission Could Have Been Reduced if U.S. Paid Reparations

Harvard researchers claim that COVID-19 transmission could have been significantly reduced in Louisiana had American minority households received hundreds of thousands of dollars in reparations before the pandemic.

Campus Reform reports:

A group of scholars led by Dr. Eugene Richardson and Dr. Momin Malik looked at differences in frontline work and overcrowded housing by race and used it to compare Louisiana, a racially and socioeconomically diverse state, with South Korea, a more racially and economically homogenous country. Their peer-reviewed study was published by the academic journal Social Science & Medicine.

The researchers wish to see a “reparations plan” of $800,000 per household or $250,000 per individual for descendants of slaves. They believe this would have helped eliminate the wealth gap and could have reduced the spread of the virus. 

They wrote in the study, “Reparations that allow people to not need frontline jobs would both spread the risk of these jobs across the population, and may also lead to overall higher wages and better working conditions in frontline work — if people are not forced to take such work out of desperation, especially during a pandemic, then wages and benefits would reflect the risk of these jobs.”

The authors believe, “All Black Americans, both those descended from persons enslaved in the US and those who are recent immigrants to the US, have a moral claim to reparations for the effects of ongoing systemic racism.”

For the full report, click HERE.


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