A suburb of Chicago is set to become the first place in the US to provide reparations to its Black residents for housing through a tax on marijuana sales, with a plan to distribute $10m over the coming decade.
Evanston, which sits on the shores of Lake Michigan north of downtown Chicago, is set for an initial disbursement of around $400,000 for housing needs, with a vote on the issue set to take place at the city council on 22 March.
Under the proposal, residents would get $25,000 to use towards home improvements or mortgage assistance. To qualify, residents must have either been or descended from a Black person who lives in Evanston prior to 1969 who suffered from discriminatory housing practices by government and banks.
This funding will be the first to flow in the wake of a landmark decision by Evanston in 2019 to financially compensate its Black residents for historical racism and discrimination. These reparations, set to total $10m, will come via community donations and a tax on marijuana.
Robin Rue Simmons, a Black alderman who represents Evanston’s historically black fifth ward, said reparations is the “most appropriate legislative response to the historic practices and the contemporary conditions of the Black community”.
Simmons said that “although many of the anti-Black policies have been outlawed, many…