Illinois City To Start Government Reparations Program

On Monday, a city in Illinois voted to pay reparations to its black communities to make up for slavery, discrimination, and racism experienced by their ancestors.

On Monday night, the Evanston City council held a vote that ended 8-to-1 in favor of approving the first phase of its reparations program. This phase would allocate $400,000 to be paid out in the form of home ownership and improvement grants with sizes up to $25,000. This housing assistance program is the first part of a $10 million plan for reparations to be paid out to the city’s black population.

Those eligible for the grants are black residents who can prove that they or their ancestors lived in the city between 1919 and 1969 when discriminatory policies were in effect. They must also be able to trace their lineage back to “any of the Black racial and ethnic groups of Africa,” the resolution says.

The council began work on the reparations plan after a subcommittee gave a report last year on the discrimination in the city’s housing policies. The council plans to use the reparations to being about “equity” for the city’s black population.

“The Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program … acknowledges the harm caused to Black/African-American Evanston residents due to discriminatory housing policies and practices and inaction on the part of the City,” the resolution reads. The housing assistance program focuses on  “revitalizing, preserving, and stabilizing Black/African-American owner-occupied homes in Evanston, increasing homeownership and building the wealth of Black/African-American residents, building intergenerational equity amongst Black/African-American residents, and improving the retention rate of Black/African-American homeowners in the City of Evanston.”

This seems to be the continuation of the trend that we saw starting last week with the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order known as the Jesuits. TO catch up, they planned to donate $100 million as reparations to the descendants of the slaves the order once purchased and sold. The branch of the Jesuits based in the U.S. partnered with the GU Descendants Association to create a gameplan.

“From our inception, the GU272 Descendants Association has chosen to identify and rebuild our ancestors’ families that were separated and often destroyed by the brutal institution of slavery and to create a sustainable mechanism for investing forward in uplifting Descendants for many generations to come,” GU272 Descendants Association President Cheryllyn Branche said in a release. “Through the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation, we will restore honor and dignity to our ancestors by institutionalizing these goals for our children, our children’s children, and Descendants for centuries to come.”

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