The first municipal reparations fund in the United States has passed in Evanston, Illinois, a city north of Chicago.
Evanston, Illinois, a city roughly 13 miles north of Chicago, has just made history as the first city in the United States to officially commit to funding reparations to its Black residents. The concept of reparations has long been a pressing topic in politics and Black culture, and in recent years, talks about reparations have increased and reached major stages. In a ground-breaking move, Evanston, IL is now the first city in America to turn those negotiations and debates into bonafide action.
According to ABC News, the city's reparations resolution first passed in 2019, and today, the city committed $10 million over the next decade in an attempt to repay Black residents for the wrongs and accumulated losses incurred by generations of racism. Spearheaded by Evanston 5th Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, the resolution will start dispersing $25,000 payments to eligible Black residents this year that they can use for housing.
Evanston's reparations will continue to be funded over the decade by a new 3% sales tax on freshly legal recreational marijuana sales. Regarding the matter, Robin Rue Simmons says, "It's the most appropriate use for that sales tax. In our city, 70% of the marijuana arrests were in the Black community. And we are 16% of the community. All studies show that Blacks and white [people] consume cannabis at the same rate."
Simmons and Evanston, IL's work is a historical feat for the United States, so stay tuned to see whether more cities across the country follow suit.