As part of efforts to address the wealth and opportunity gaps residents experience due to historical racism and discrimination, the City of Evanston today provided an update on reparations planning in Evanston and outlined next steps in the City’s process.
To help the public better understand Evanston’s reparations process and timeline, the City created an infographic charting the City’s progress. The infographic can be found above and at cityofevanston.org/reparations.
Actions to date
The City of Evanston’s reparations planning process began in June 2019 following the City Council’s adoption of a resolution affirming the City’s commitment to end structural racism and achieve racial equity. The City Council’s Equity and Empowerment Commission held two community meetings to gather public input on reparations in July, and summarized input and recommendations in a report to the City Council. In September, the Council accepted the Equity and Empowerment Commission’s report and authorized the creation of a City Council subcommittee to begin the planning process.
In November, a Reparations Fund was created and adopted as part of the City’s 2020 Budget. The City Council committed to utilize tax revenue collected from sales of recreational cannabis to support reparations in Evanston.
Following the City Council’s adoption of the 2020 Budget, Ald. Robin Rue Simmons hosted a Reparations Town Hall Meeting at First Church of God in Evanston on December 11. Actor, humanitarian and Ambassador for the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent Danny Glover was the keynote presenter. Representatives from the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) also participated.
In 2020, the City Council’s reparations subcommittee, which currently includes 5th Ward Ald. Robin Rue Simmons and 8th Ward Ald. Ann Rainey, will be expanded to include subject matter experts and additional members of the community. The subcommittee will work with residents, City staff and experts to explore and identify programs and opportunities to be supported by the Reparations Fund, including initiatives related to workforce development, entrepreneurship, home ownership, education and infrastructure. The process has just begun to consider many important issues, including the scope of funding opportunities, criteria and qualifications for participation, and level of funding.
A Reparations Plan will be proposed for City Council consideration in 2020. Once a plan is approved by the City Council, distribution from the Reparations Fund will begin, possibly in early 2021.
More information about the subcommittee and the 2020 meeting schedule will be announced in the coming weeks. The City Council is set to discuss the reparations subcommittee at its meeting on January 13.
For more information, visit cityofevanston.org/reparations or call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents may simply dial 311 in Evanston.