City officials in Evanston, Illinois are expected to financially compensate Black residents for the wealth and opportunity gaps created by systemic racism. Plans to compensate Black residents have not been completely worked out, but initial reports suggest that the first $400,000 will go toward housing needs in marginalized communities. Through the program, direct descendants of Black residents who lived in Evanston between 1919 and 1969 are eligible for $25,000 mortgage grants. If approved, residents could receive their mortgage grants by the summer.
While the city is planning to distribute funds to Black communities, some feel that it falls short of being classified as reparations. With the existence of anti-Black policies throughout the state, many are looking for deeper change than financial compensation.
"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," alderman Robin Rue Simmons told NBC News.
"[The] current bill proposed by the city of Evanston never went through a racial equality, anti-capitalist process. As a result, historically racist financial institutions like banks, corporations and various individuals, will profit from this proposal. Reparations should not be monetized," activist group, Evanston Rejects Racist Reparations, added.
Ultimately, the city is expected to distribute $10 million to Black residents over the course of a decade. At this time, it is unclear if the payouts will go directly into the hands of Black residents or community programs. Evanston City Council is expected to pass the plan through a vote on March 22.
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