The city anticipates distributing the next round of $25,000 reparations grants after Thursday’s Reparations Committee meeting, said Tasheik Kerr, assistant to the city manager. The direct cash payments for the two remaining ancestors from the first 16 recipients named are expected to receive their grants at the same time, too, Kerr said.

Kerr didn’t name a specific date for when these grants will be distributed.

“We will aim for the next bill list depending on how many recipients staff is able to visit,” Kerr said.

Kerr didn’t explain what “next bill list” means in time for deadline. But she said the city plans to distribute between 35 to 80 grants in its second round. The city isn’t able to share the exact number of grants it plans to disburse because it can’t reveal the amount of monies in the reparations fund.

Kenneth Wideman is one of those chosen to be the first 16 recipients of local reparations in Evanston. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

On March 2, the Reparations Committee approved distributing direct cash payments to siblings Kenneth and Sheila Wideman. Committee chair Robin Rue Simmons told the RoundTable after that meeting that the Widemans’ grant will be tax-free. But now the city isn’t so sure about that.

“I do not have a response to the tax question,” Kerr said via email on April 4. “Staff is researching this question.”

Direct cash payment is at the top of the Reparations Committee’s agenda for its upcoming meeting on Thursday, April 6.

The City Council approved amending the Restorative Housing Program, the city’s (and the nation’s) first reparations program, to add a new option for grants: direct cash payment. The council also approved designing a new reparations initiative benefit program for direct cash payment.

The committee plans to discuss both direct cash payment developments.

The agenda also says the committee will be establishing three working groups with five to seven members to concentrate on economic development, housing and educational initiatives.

The committee will give an update on informational sessions with the families of ancestors who died before receiving their grants. Seven ancestors have died waiting for reparations.

Avatar photo

Gina Castro

Gina Castro is a Racial Justice fellow for the RoundTable. She recently earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she studied investigative reporting....

Leave a comment

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *