Chicago suburb begins $25K slavery reparations payouts

  • Evanston approved a slavery reparations program in 2019
  • The city has allocated $25,000 for each eligible resident
  • 140 people are expected to receive a payment this year

(NewsNation) — Black residents have begun receiving reparations payments in a northern suburb of Chicago, two years after the city approved the program.

City staff in Evanston, Illinois, have met with 48 recipients who are each eligible to receive $25,000. Sixteen of them have received payments, the Evanston RoundTable reported.

The city expects to dole out payments to 140 mostly elderly residents by the end of this year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The city voted in 2019 to approve $10 million over 10 years for the program, which provides the money in the form of cash or vouchers for home improvement, mortgage assistance and/or a down payment on a home.

The program is funded through a cannabis tax and a real estate transfer tax on properties worth more than $1 million when they are sold. City staff said at a July 6 meeting that $1.18 million in revenue has been generated so far, the RoundTable reported.

Reparations are available for “Black or African American persons having origins in any of the Black racial and ethnic groups of Africa,” according to the program’s guidelines. They must also have lived in the city between 1919 and 1969, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“I see it as like a test run for the whole country,” Justin Hansford, head of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University, told the newspaper.

Reparations programs have gained traction over the past few years, and Evanston is the first municipality to begin paying residents. In California, a state task force recently released a final report with 115 recommendations on how the state could compensate those harmed by slavery.

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