The city of Evanston, Illinois has recently become the first in the nation to begin distributing reparations payments to black residents for discrimination and limited access to housing.
While this represents a landmark decision on the part of the city, it is not without its critics. Those who are ideologically conservative decry this policy as an example of government overreach and yet another attempt by liberal politicians to expand their power.
It is reported that approximately 140 residents will receive $25,000 from the city by year’s end. The total cost of this program comes out to a whopping $10 million which will be spread out over ten years.
In 2019, the city of roughly 75,000 residents approved a $10 million reparations package to be distributed over 10 years. So far, the city has already disbursed reparations payments to sixteen qualified residents, the Evanston Round Table reported.
In order to qualify for these payments individuals must have been at least 18 and lived in Evanston between 1919 and 1969 when fair-housing laws were enacted.
Payments will come in either cash or voucher form – both funded by taxes imposed on marijuana sales and real estate transfers throughout the city.
Justin Hansford, head of Howard University’s Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center sees Evanston’s actions as “a test run for the whole country” as other municipalities consider similar policies going forward.
Not everyone is pleased however – Bennett Johnson claims that 1969 cutoff date is “totally arbitrary” despite there being legal protections against discrimination written into law at that time; he also believes that these payments are inadequate given how much black residents continue to suffer under systemic racism today.
Ramona Burton, one of those who have already received payment however views it more positively: “It’s better than a blank,” she said optimistically about her situation after receiving her check from Evanston officials.
Whether or not one agrees with how Evanston has chosen to disburse reparations among its citizens it cannot be denied that this action taken by local administrators could lead to bigger changes in other cities across America in regards to how they attempt to tackle racial injustice within their own borders.
One question that many people are asking, is, why are white residents of Evanston who did not live there between 1919 and 1969 forced to bear the burden of paying these reparations?
Only time will tell what effect if any this plan will have long term but regardless one thing remains certain: race relations remain an important topic worthy of continued discussion throughout society at large today and hopefully into tomorrow too as we strive towards genuine equality among all people regardless of skin color or background .