Thank you to everyone who contributed to the drive for the reparations fund held by the Evanston Community Foundation and overseen by the Reparations Stakeholder Authority.
Together, in one week, we raised $13,309 toward my stated goal of $20,000 as of 5 p.m. this evening.
I believe, and hope, that contributions continue to come in now and far into the future.
The past is the present.
Far too few of us in the white and non-Black community recognize just how much the past is our present and how legal and de facto racist policies, practices, and behaviors--by the City, by businesses, organizations, and clubs, and by the white community as a whole, harmed and continue to harm Evanston's Black community.
Even the process of desegregation -- which too many of us automatically assume was redress and "the fix" for many decades of discrimination and trauma, severely frayed the fabric of Black neighborhoods, enterprises, and families.
We live here, most of us embracing all the benefits of living in Evanston and feeling "virtuous" for moving to a "diverse" community. But many of us are shamefully separated from our Black community and don't even know what we don't know about how deeply systemic and every-day racism is embedded in the foundation of every aspect of Evanston.
If you're a white or non-Black Evanston resident and you supported this fund drive, here are just a few of the ways you can learn more and become increasingly involved. There are many more.
Continue to contribute to the reparations fund at ECF and encourage others to do the same by sharing the link. Consider weekly, monthly or annual contributions to the fund. Please recognize that contributions to the reparations fund should not replace your support of other Black organizations, individuals, and businesses.
While the ECF is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization, and your gift to any one of its funds is tax deductible, please don't file for a tax benefit for your reparations contribution as it is something owed, not something from which the contributor should benefit.
Participate in the Reparations Committee's monthly meetings. The next meeting is Friday, Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. and will focus on the role of white residents in reparations. Click here to sign up for email updates and meeting reminders.
Learn about Evanston's history.
Find an excellent timeline of redlining in Evanston here.
Find out about the history of Evanston's Reparations Initiative, which was passed by City Council
resolution in November 2019.
Read Jenny Thomson's eye-opening book The Takeover 1968, about Black student activism at
Northwestern University and racial segregation in Evanston and at Northwestern.
Connect with Shorefront Legacy Center and Shorefront Journal, which collects and archives Black history in Evanston and along the north shore. Shorefront's founder, Dino Robinson has been instrumental-- along with Jenny Thomson of the Evanston History Center--in providing historical background to support the need for reparations. Read my interview with Dino here.
Support Black businesses (and all local businesses). Our support is urgent now for all small businesses!
Make sure to join the FB group Support Evanston Shops, Salons, and Studios, whose founder Ande
Breunig has done an incredible job highlighting and celebrating all of Evanston's small businesses and mobilizing Evanstonians to rally around them during the pandemic ... and beyond.
Check out Black Business Consortium Evanston North Shore, founded by Clarence and Wendy Weaver (pictured) and Jean and Larry Murphy, and its list of Black Businesses (their website is under construction).
If you're a recreational cannabis user and purchase it at a dispensary, make sure to purchase from MedMen Stores, where 3% of the tax from your purchase will transfer to the City's reparations fund.