Editor: The reparations issue has been much in the Evanston news lately. Directly related to the reparations issue is City Council Resolution 58-R-19, “A Commitment to End Structural Racism and Achieve Racial Equity.”  This Resolution seems to have had little public exposure before its adoption by Council in June 2019.  Unfortunately, this Resolution includes language which is likely to offend a significant number of Evanston residents.

My major objection to this Resolution is the three appearances of the term “White Supremacy,” e.g. “Council acknowledges  . . . the trauma inflicted on people of color by persistent white supremacist ideology.”

When I see the phrase “White Supremacy,” I immediately think of hate groups such as the Aryan Brotherhood, the Proud Boys, Stormfront, and the many other white surpremacist organizations tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  It is impossible for me to hold Evanston in the same mental space as, for example, the Aryan Brotherhood.

Since no one could legitimately assert that Evanston is a hotbed of white supremacist hate groups, I find very troubling the three inclusions of this phrase in a Resolution which purportedly speaks for the whole City.

In addition to the “White Supremacist” language, I also object to the portion of the Resolution which describes the treatment of the Potawatomi tribes in the early 1800’s.  I do not dispute the historical accuracy of this account; my objection is simply that section does not belong in this Resolution.

The thrust of the Resolution seems to be the injustices the City has inflicted on black residents: e.g., “Neighborhood redlining, municipal disinvestment in the black community, and a history of bias in government services.”  How is a lengthy description of the treatment of the Potowatomi tribes by “white colonizers” in the 1800’s relevant to the current state of Evanston’s black community?

Unless Council is certain that Resolution 58-R-19 reflects the viewpoint of the Evanston community as a whole, this Resolution should be rescinded and redrafted in a manner that excludes both the offensive language of “White Supremacy” and the irrelevant historical details about the Potowatomi tribes.

As it stands, this Resolution—which purports to speak for Evanston—certainly does not speak for me.

                                                                                                                                                                             — Barb Rakley