Today was a momentous and historic day in Evanston, and in the nation.
The "Evanston 16" -- the first 16 Evanston residents (and the first residents in the nation) to receive municipal reparations were picked by lottery at a Reparations Committee meeting this morning that was held virtually from the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center.
This is the first compensatory redress initiative for local reparations in the country, and these 16 residents will receive $25,000 reparative housing payments.
Numbers were read out by Reparations Committee members Hon. Robin Rue Simmons, Carlis Sutton, Bonnie Lockhart, Councilmember Peter Braithwaite(2nd ward), and Dino Robinson, founder Shorefront Legacy Center.
"For the first time since reconstruction days after the Civil War, a government agency is participating in a process that will make this a more perfect union and more inclusive for all citizens of the United States of America," said Carlis Sutton before the drawing.
"Is this a perfect process? No. No first time effort ever is. But we can truthfully say no other community, no other state, no other agency in government has gone this far. So before you start criticizing us, I suggest that you follow the lead that we've set."
Many Evanston residents tuned into the meeting from home.
"This is a time of joy," former 5th ward City Councilmember Delores Holmes, who has been involved in the initiative from the start, commented in the chat. "I'm so proud of Evanston. I can't believe how emotional this is."
Karli Butler, a third-generation Black Evanstonian wrote, "I'm so sad that my granddad couldn't be here to witness this." Her grandfather had received a lottery number but passed away just a few weeks ago at the age of 95.
"Congratulations to our precious ancestors ... glorious day," wrote Kathryn Jackson-Bradley.
"Evanston has become a beacon of hope for the entire country to follow," said Gerald Johnson.
Read more about this morning's historic events in the Evanston Patch.
In the meantime, if you're a white Evanston resident, head up a white-led or predominantly white business or organization, or belong to a predominantly white faith-based organization in Evanston, we strongly encourage you to contribute--as an individual or as an organization--to one or both of Evanston's Reparations funds.
-- Reparations Stakeholder Authority of Evanston fund held at the Evanston Community Foundation.
-- City of Evanston fund.
Here are the lottery numbers that were announced.
Coinciding with the selection of restorative housing funds, several articles were published in the media.
Hera are a couple from Crain's Chicago Business:
An editorial by Pastor Michael Nabors
With its first-in-the-nation reparations program, the city made history. The question now is if the promised $10 million can actually shore up Black wealth.