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Evanston Reparations Initiative update ...

Earlier tonight, City Council discussed the future of the Evanston Reparations Initiative Sub-Committee.

2nd Ward Ald. Peter Braithwaite was appointed as the third City Council member on the committee, joining Robin Rue Simmons 5th Ward Alderman and Ald. Ann Rainey, 8th ward.

The Council agreed that the sub-committee would rely on the expertise of Northwestern University Professor Alvin Bernard Tillery and that it was essential for there to be consistent legal expertise--possibly from the ACLU, which has expressed interest in helping the initiative.

Alderman Simmons said the sub-committee has reached out to community members and experts in a variety of fields to serve in advisory roles.

"We will need input from many experts in an advisory role," Simmons said. "We will need input from many experts. We've had an offer of input from National African American Reparations Commission - NAARC and N'cobra and other national organizations that work on diversity and inclusion and the racial wealth gap."

But she added that she wants to have a working group that can take feedback from the community and then take action in terms of home ownership and business development in the Black community, and trauma.

Ald. Braithwaite stressed that the goal is to get policy in place by September in order to start spending the funds.

He stressed that the sub-committee's decisions and how the funds will be used will be by a full council vote, public, and transparent.

"We need to keep the sub-committee nimble and small and if we want to add two or three voices, I'd be in support of that," he said.

Ald. Rainey added that Braithwaite had suggested that a mortgage authority participate in the working group and that she would like to add a fundraising specialist so sub-committee members can go to banks, universities, and other organizations to raise more funds.

Rainey also noted that there are pockets of people in the community who are meeting to talk about reparations.

"There are people meeting here and there, and we’re going to being to bring in the leaders of those groups to have them focus on individual topics, and go from there," she said.

Rainey also addressed the fact that there are people in Evanston "complaining they don’t like our team, and that we don’t have a program."

"We keep telling people that we don't have a program. We’re going slow. I would encourage anyone to come and meet with us," she said.

"We’re doing the best anyone can expect us to do at this time."

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