Illinois City Approves First Government Reparations Program In US

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A city in Illinois voted Monday to pay out reparations to its black residents to make up for the slavery, discrimination, and racism experienced by their ancestors.

The Evanston City Council voted 8-to-1 on Monday night to approve the first phase of its reparations program: allocating $400,000 to be paid out in homeownership and improvement grants up to $25,000. The housing assistance is the first part of a $10 million plan for reparations to be paid out to the city’s black population, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The grants will go to black residents who can prove that they or their ancestors lived in the city between 1919 and 1969 when discriminatory policies were in effect. Applicants must also be able to trace their lineage back to “any of the Black racial and ethnic groups of Africa,” the resolution passed Monday says.

The council began working on a reparations plan after a subcommittee issued a report last year on discrimination in the city’s housing policies. The council is using reparations to bring about “equity” for the city’s black population.

“The Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program … acknowledges the harm caused to Black/African-American Evanston residents due to discriminatory housing policies and practices and inaction on the part of the City,” the resolution says. The housing assistance program is focused on “revitalizing, preserving, and stabilizing Black/African-American owner-occupied homes in Evanston, increasing homeownership and building the wealth of Black/African-American residents, building intergenerational equity amongst Black/African-American residents, and improving the retention rate of Black/African-American homeowners in the City of Evanston.”

Last week, the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order commonly known as the Jesuits, pledged to donate $100 million as reparations the to descendants of slaves the order once bought and sold. The U.S. branch of the Jesuits partnered with the GU272 Descendants Association to craft the plan.

“From our inception, the GU272 Descendants Association has chosen to identify and rebuild our ancestors’ families that were separated and often destroyed by the brutal institution of slavery and to create a sustainable mechanism for investing forward in uplifting Descendants for many generations to come,” GU272 Descendants Association President Cheryllyn Branche said in a statement. “Through the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation, we will restore honor and dignity to our ancestors by institutionalizing these goals for our children, our children’s children, and Descendants for centuries to come.”

Democratic state lawmakers in Oregon are pushing a bill that would allocate taxpayer funds to pay black residents up to $123,000. As The Daily Wire reported:

According to a copy of the state Senate bill, the government will pay six figures to any person who can demonstrate that they are a descendant of American slaves and have “identified as African-American” on legal documents.

The text of the bill directs the state Department of Revenue to establish a reparations payment program to black Oregonians “who can demonstrate heritage in slavery” and provide documentation that they identify as “African-American” for at least 10 years. Recipients must reside in the state for at least two years before the application deadline of Dec. 31, 2022.

The payment would be an annuity where recipients would receive $123,000 paid out over the course of their life, plus interest.

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