The city of Evanston, Illinois has become the first U.S. city to make reparations available to its black residents for centuries of discrimination and the long-standing effects of slavery.
Using tax money from the sale of recreational marijuana, the City Council for the Chicago suburb voted 8-1 to distribute $10 million over the next 10 years with the distribution of $400,000 to eligible Black households. Each qualifying household would receive $25,000 for home repairs, down payments on property, and interest or late penalties on property in the city.
According to the Associated Press, qualifying residents must either have lived in or been a direct descendant of a Black person who lived in Evanston between 1919 to 1969, or that person’s direct descendant, who suffered discrimination in housing because of city ordinances, policies or practices. Also, residents who also experienced discrimination due to the city’s policies or practices after 1969 can qualify.
Evanston approved the measure as hundreds of communities around the country consider providing reparations for their Black residents. About 75,000 people live in the suburban area with nearly a quarter of the population noted as Black, according to the latest US Census data.
In Evanston, besides revenue from a 3% tax on the sale of recreational marijuana, a small portion of the money is coming to the city in private donations. The city is also home to Northwestern University, a private institution founded in 1851 with a total enrollment of over 20,000 students.