A Chicago Suburb to Pay Reparations to Black Residents

Evanston, Illinois became the first city in the United States to pass a law paying reparations to its Black citizens. It’s doing so by taxing the sale of legal marijuana in the area to the tune of $10 million over 10 years to aid community members. The law was proposed by the city’s Fifth Ward alderman Robin Rue Simmons, citing the deleterious effects of the war on drugs, including the disproportionate marijuana convictions imposed on the Black community. Not only will monies be used to assist area residents victimized by unjust sentencing structures, but others as well. Some redress will be afforded those adversely impacted by banks, gentrification, rabid redlining and a crisis of rushed foreclosures that pushed many residents out of their homes.
Evanston has a history of progressive legislating. In response to Ta-Nehesi Coates 2014 essay on reparations, the city launched a study on reparations options and added a social equity clause when the city voted to legalize recreational marijuana last summer. Click here to learn more about the innovative approaches the city plans to adopt to make reparation benefits a reality for Black residents. Glean what is possible when brilliant public servants act on behalf of the people.

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