Submitted by Cicely Fleming
At the March 22 City Council virtual meeting, aldermen will be voting on the adoption of Resolution 37-R-27, which authorizes the implementation of the “Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program and Program Budget” and the initial program budget of $400,000. (See Section VII SP3 of the agenda.)
As the only Evanston elected official running unopposed in the April 2021 election, Alderwoman Cicely Fleming opposes Resolution 37-R-27 and will vote no. “If we’re doing reparations, let’s do reparations right,” Fleming stated. She continued with her concern and said “Let’s not short-change Black people on something they’ve been waiting centuries for.”
Resolution 37-R-27 will give 16 Black families in Evanston benefits towards home ownership, home improvement, or mortgage assistance. Alderwoman Fleming supports this program, but is adamant that it is labeled as a “housing program” rather than “reparations.”
Ald. Fleming says that she opposes this resolution for several reasons, which she will elaborate in her comments at the meeting on Monday. “True reparations should respect Black people’s autonomy and allow them to determine how repair will be managed, including cash payments as an option. They are being denied that in this proposal, which gives money directly to the banks or contractors on their behalf.” Additionally, the vote is being rushed since the current City Council term ends this month and the resolution was just made public this week for resident review and feedback.
“As a stand-alone housing program, I support this. I cannot support this plan being called reparations.”