Evanston, Illinois, has approved the country’s first reparations program for Black residents.
It looks like the federal government could take a few notes from the Chicago suburb of Evanston. On Monday, Evanston officials voted to release the first round of funds in a program offering reparations to Black residents whose families were affected by the hundreds of years’ worth of racist and discriminatory housing practices, CNN reports, per The Chicago Tribune and Evanston Now.
Revenue directly from a 3 percent tax on legalized cannabis is sorted into assistance for home loans. “We had to do something radically different to address the racial divide that we had in our city, which includes historic oppression, exclusion, and divestment in the Black community,” Simmons told CNN.
This is just the first initiative of the $10 million plan, the Restorative Housing Reparations program. According to CNN, up to $25,000 would be distributed to eligible residents looking for homes; funding would come from the 3 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales.
As the conversation about reparations grows, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer says things are finally moving forward. “I would certainly say that in my lifetime, I’ve never seen the issue of reparations being taken as seriously as it is now,” Hannah-Jones told CNN. “It has been considered a fringe issue, kind of a radical issue, and one that you would not see talked about in kind of middle-of-the-road politics, but that has changed.”