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Sharper Focus On Local Reparations At 2nd Town Hall Meeting About Evanston, Illinois’ Racist Past

Sharper Focus On Local Reparations At 2nd Town Hall Meeting About Evanston, Illinois’ Racist Past

Local Reparations
With the murder and mistreatment of Black Americans on full display, Evanston, Illinois held its second town hall meeting on reparations, putting a sharper focus on local reparations and the city’s racist past.

With the murder and mistreatment of Black Americans on full display, some are putting a sharper focus on local reparations for descendants of slaves. In Evanston, Illinois over 100 people attended a second meeting held via Zoom by the City Reparations Subcommittee on the topic, reported the city’s newspaper, the Evanston RoundTable.

To make atonement for the city’s racist past, including enforcement of Black Codes, The Fugitive Slave Law and allowing residents to keep people as property, the subcommittee is working to create a $10 million reparations program.

Notable speakers included U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Fifth Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, who is the chair of the reparations subcommittee, local historian Morris “Dino” Robinson and Kamm Howard from the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America and the National African American Reparations Commission.

Howard said the idea of local reparations is gaining support across the country. In Evanston, their particular focus is on housing and economic development programs, according to the RoundTable.


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The reparations fund is supposed to be raised over a 10-year period through a 3 percent city tax on marijuana sales. Advocates are hopeful the state will grant Evanston business licenses for recreational marijuana dispensaries.

“One or two Evanston licenses will make a huge difference in [our] finances. [There are also licenses for 40 craft growers and 40 infusion licensees. All we can do its wait,” said Eighth Ward Alderman Ann Rainey.

Advocates agreed it is a step in the right direction.

“There’s never been a response to the 250 years of slavery,” said Lee, who has carried on the mantle of late Rep. John Conyers championing reparations in Congress through H.R. 40 and other bills. “I just want to make [clear] that what we are doing is not out of the ordinary – it is what should be done.”