Chicago suburb first in US to pay reparations to black residents 

Chicago suburb first in US to pay reparations to black residents 

A Chicago suburb is on its way to becoming the first in the country to fund reparations for its black residents with a pledge of $10million over 10 years.

Evanston's reparations fund, established in 2019, is focused on housing inequities, using a 3 per cent tax on recreational marijuana sales to help black residents with homeownership, including mortgage assistance and funding for home improvements. 

In November, a Reparations Fund was created and adopted as part of the city's 2020 budget. The City Council committed to utilize tax revenue collected from sales of recreational cannabis to support reparations in Evanston with a pledge of $10million over 10 years. 

'Reparations is the most appropriate legislative response to the historic practices and the contemporary conditions of the Black community. And although many of the anti-Black policies have been outlawed, many remain embedded in policy, including zoning and other government practices,' Robin Rue Simmons, an alderman in Evanston, who introduced the legislation, told NBC News.  

Evanston officials are expected to vote on March 22 about whether the first $400,000 will be dedicated to addressing housing needs.

Under this portion of the program, residents would get $25,000 to use toward homeownership, home improvement and mortgage assistance. In order to qualify, residents must have lived in Evanston between 1919 to 1969. 

Residents can also qualify if they are the direct descendant of a black person who lived in Evanston between 1919 to 1969 and suffered discrimination in housing.

Elsewhere, Amherst, some 90 miles from Boston, is among hundreds of communities and organizations across the country seeking to provide reparations to black people. 

They range from the state of California to cities like Providence, Rhode Island, religious denominations like the Episcopal Church and prominent colleges like Georgetown University in Washington.