How Black residents in America's first city to fund reparations proved they were owed
Early at my childhood. I was invited to have a play date. My white friends never had a play. That so i want to megan's house. The streets were wider. The homes were bigger and brighter. It was obvious that it was the barrier race that kept us from that because the segregation was race spaced even here evanston illinois or proudly liberal suburb of chicago. The barrier and burden of race have long weighed heavy. Like a winter storm. This is alderman for the fifth ward. Robin ru simmons was born and raised in the historically black neighborhood. She represents this community was red. Line historically and that has come along with Damages that continue today resources were stripped away from the black community along with wealth as well. The city's plan to change that reparations. In idea long-debated proposed over one hundred and fifty years ago. I forty acres of land later mule for formerly enslaved people to share the american dream built on their backs for free. Promise long broke until now. This is a historic vote. Evanston is set to become the first. Us city to pay out reparations. A total of ten million dollars starting with increments of up to twenty five thousand dollars per person for housing. I didn't start my electic. Career even discussing reparations rich. I was looking at data. I was looking at what we had done. And reparations was the only answer the only the only the only any more of the same was gonna only at best help us sustain the oppressed state and the disparity that we have only. That's a big word. The only legislative response for us to reconcile the damages in the black community as reparations why housing housing specifically and homeownership is a path to begin to build. Well when you have stable housing you have an opportunity just to breathe and think about what's next. It provides a sense of place in the community where we're largely renters now and we should be owning. We anticipate litigation with the premise that we cannot use tax money. That's from public to benefit. A particular group of people throughout history taxes were used to benefit a certain group of people while others were excluded from that dino robinson is a founder of shorefront an archive dedicated to chronically celebrating. Black life in evanston a richness long undervalued. His documentation going back to the late eighteen hundreds invaluable in measuring the cost of racism. And the need for reparations of members were moving throughout evanston informing. You know pockets in the city of evanston and it caused the white communities are panic. Like what do we do about this. The response to that panic redlining federally sanctioned project assigning market value to neighborhoods a grading system a to d. The d areas usually relegated to the black community. The area d. was always read. This deliberately pushed evanston black families into an area that became the fifth ward. Segregating them from white families sought after property and ultimately wealth. Things were not loan to black families. Real estate agencies would not show you other than fifth ward. That map still is. The map of are concentrated. Black community are disinvestment today. White residents of evidence have nearly double the income in home value of black residents. This racial wealth gap is prevalent nationally. Black-americans possessing less than fifteen percent of the wealth. That white americans have who i am. Nineteen years old. We moved to evanston in nineteen fifty nine black residents who lived through red line again. Their descendants are eligible for reparations. That includes ben gain senior and his son then junior then senior grew up in nineteen twenties dixon kentucky part of the old south the business end of an era most violent weapon against african americans. Jim crow. He landed in evanston here. Jim crow war smile but still inflicted harm on black homebuyers contractor said fan a lot and it. We're in evanston bill. Whatever you will well when he said that he men in black neighborhoods and we still have these same types of problems.