Evanston, Illinois, has become the first city in the United States to make reparations available to its Black residents for past discrimination and the lingering effects of slavery. The Chicago suburb’s City Council voted 8 to 1 to distribute $400,000 to eligible Black households, with qualifying residents receiving $25,000 for home repairs or down payments on property. The program is being funded through donations and revenue from a 3% tax on the sale of recreational marijuana, and the city has pledged to distribute $10 million over 10 years. “There’s no way to express how significant this is,” says Danny Glover, an actor and activist who is a member of the National African American Reparations Commission. “Imagine how that resonates beyond Evanston, Illinois. Imagine the kind of discourse that happens, the discussions in community by ordinary citizens about reparations.” We also speak with Robin Rue Simmons, a member of the Evanston City Council and reparations advocate, and Dino Robinson, a historian and executive director of the Shorefront Legacy Center, the only community archive for Black history on Chicago’s suburban North Shore.
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