Evanston RoundTable
Montage: Julie Cowan

Good morning, Evanston.

The vote by Evanton’s City Council to approve the release of funds for a housing grant-based reparations program for Black residents reverberated far beyond our City borders. The decision, the first of its kind by a municipality in the U.S., was covered far and wide by news organizations across the country and around the world.

Mainstream national newspapers like the The New York Times and the Washington Post noted the significance of the event with prominently positioned stories on their websites and print pages.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch, a paper with roots dating back before the Civil War, reported the decision and observed that “the debate over the feasibility of reparations for Black Americans is no longer a fringe issue.”

Rolling Stone magazine and Leafly, an online cannabis retailer and journal, highlighted the funding approach — allocating the revenues from the City’s 3% tax on sales of recreational cannabis to its Reparations Fund.

Here’s a rundown of all the major coverage.

Evanston RoundTable membership video
Click the image above to view a short video featuring Evanstonians reflecting on the importance of local journalism and the RoundTable’s mission.

Top 10 reasons to become a RoundTable member

  1. Empower participation in local government through education and engagement
  2. Oversight of City elected officials, spending, and activities
  3. Provide critical information on Evanston School District proposals and School Board members’ deliberations and decisions. 
  4. Facilitate understanding of complex issues facing Evanston, such as reparations and pensions
  5. Encourage a vibrant virtual Public Square, inclusive of all voices
  6. Build and maintain the most comprehensive Calendar of Events in Evanston
  7. Listen to the Evanston RoundCast podcast series on issues and people in Evanston
  8. Train the next generation of journalists through Young Voices and Fresh Voices of Evanston.
  9. Support The Traffic Guy reports
  10. Promote the arts and civic engagement

Also . . .

  1. Sleep soundly at night knowing that I am contributing to an organization that furthers democracy.
  2. Receive free advice from Dear Gabby

Click here to view a short video featuring Evanstonians reflecting on the importance of local journalism and the RoundTable mission. Click here to become a member.

COVID-19 by the numbers: We are checking in with many sources to keep you updated on COVID-19 cases and vaccine information.

  • Seven new cases were reported yesterday in Evanston and the seven-day average is seven.
  • There were no reported fatalities yesterday. Evanston has lost 114 residents to the pandemic.
  • Our City’s positive test rate for the past seven days is 0.9%; in suburban Cook County it is 4.0% and in Illinois it is 2.7%. 
  • The number of cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days is 65 in Evanston, 98 in suburban Cook County, and 109 in Illinois.
  • Illinois received 919,550 doses and used 779,700 doses of the vaccine in the past seven days. Illinois has used 80% of the 6.5 million doses received to date.
  • About 1.9 million or 15.1% of total Illinois residents are fully vaccinated, including 277,000 in the past seven days.

Variants – The Illinois Department of Public Health reports 227 cases of more infectious COVID-19 variants including nine cases of variant P.1, first identified in Brazil. 

Evanston Vax Facts: One-third or 20,901 of Evanston residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and a fifth or 12,372 of residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated. The proportion of Evanston seniors vaccinated is higher; 88% of residents 65 and older have received at least one dose and 56% are fully vaccinated.

The City of Evanston reports that it has vaccinated most individuals 65 and older. Today, the City will administer approximately 600 first doses to Phase 1B essential workers and about 300 first doses will be provided to Phase 1B+ individuals through AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital. More details are available on the City’s Vaccine Dashboard. Check the RoundTable’s resource page for vaccination and testing updates.

Dear Gabby: My sister will not get a COVID vaccine, despite the fact that she is eligible because she (ironically!) works in health care. She has been struggling with infertility and is concerned that getting a vaccine could somehow jeopardize her chances of conceiving or even harm her future not-yet-conceived child. How should I handle this?

Local Election News: Early in-person voting began on March 22 at the Civic Center for the April 6 election. Residents have until April 1 to request a mail-in ballot. See Voting in the April 6 General Election and our Election Guide.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

Masked People of the Day: Lincoln and Nora. Kristan Jiggets sent this photo and noted: “Lincoln Kenney and his friend Nora (both 4) holding hands after leaving the park with Cormac Kenney (too young for a mask at 6 months).”

Group Places Possible Change in City’s Government at Center of Election Debate. Since the City adopted the Council-Manager form of government in 1952, it has been an accepted piece of how Evanston’s operates. But picking up on comments made by candidates during the campaign, Evanston Together LLC, a new political group, is framing its support around candidates who back the current system.

The Traffic Guy hears … that street sweeping has resumed full bore. Parkers should read and heed the signs. It may be better to exercise, even if it means walking most of a block to read the sign, than to get exercised about writing a check to pay a ticket. If street sweeping has begun, can construction season be far behind?

New Program Offers Direct Cash to Evanston’s Black Residents. The Family Independence Initiative on March 22 launched the Evanston Equitable Recovery Fund, a program to provide 25 Evanston qualified residents with a $300 per month payment for 10 months. The $75,000 program is privately funded by the Family Independence Initiative and supported financially by Economic Security for Illinois

The RoundTable is adding journalists to our stable of writers. As we expand our coverage, we’re looking for reporters interested in covering topics related to Evanston school, arts, business and city news. Interested? Please email us at news@evanstonroundtable.com with a resume and writing clips.  

Around the web

COVID-19 vaccinations are everyone’s chance to do something good – and get sculpted abs, writes Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke.

Krispy Kreme Offers vaccinated customers free ride on glaze conveyor belt — The Onion.

Universal basic income resolution touches off emotional debate on reparations in Chicago — The Chicago Sun-Times.

Illinois redistricting hearings fail to engage the public. Ask yourself why — Better Government Association.

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