Tonight, Thursday, October 14 at 7 p.m., join US Reps. Congresswoman Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky , along with Pastor Michael Nabors and former Evanston City Council Member Robin Rue Simmons for a virtual panel discussion about reparations on the national and local levels.
The panel will be moderated by Rabbi Andrea London, senior rabbi, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue.
For more information and to register click here.
US Congressional Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) is the chief sponsor of HR 40, national reparations legislation for truth, racial healing and societal transformation. The bill would create a Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for an African-Americans Act.
“I think if people begin to associate this legislation with what happened to the descendants of enslaved Africans as a human rights violation…I think we can find common ground to pass this legislation," says Rep. Jackson Lee, "…Can anyone imagine that we’ve never gotten a simple, effective, deeply embedded and well-respected apology?”
US Congressional Representative Jan Schakowsky, who represents the Ninth Congressional District that includes Evanston, is a co-sponsor of HR. 40.
“I think Evanston gave a real boost being the first jurisdiction in the nation to pass a reparations ordinance," she says.
"When national legislation passes, it’s often because states, counties and municipalities have taken the first step and paved the way…Evanston has shown that reparations can be done and done in a thoughtful way.”
Reverend Dr. Michael Nabors is the Senior Pastor, Second Baptist Evanston and President, Evanston/North Shore Branch NAACP. He has been part of the Steering Committee for Evanston Reparations since 2019 and is a member of the Reparations Stakeholder Authority of Evanston.
“Reparations is, by definition, an initiative to repair damage that was done specifically as a result of racism against Black people…many people that are against reparations and especially the white community feel like…I didn’t have anything to do with what happened so many years ago," he says. "It’s a good teaching opportunity to say, ‘…You may not be a racist, but you are part of a system that continues to exert discrimination against people of color.’”
Robin Rue Simmons introduced Evanston’s reparations legislation when she served Evanston’s historically Black 5th Ward as a member of the city council. She is the founder and Executive Director of FirstRepair to advance local reparations policy, and is a member of the National African American Reparations Commission - NAARC.
“Just driving through the city, you can see the consequences of our anti-Black history visibly through our racial segregation…our community had these intentional barriers…," she says. "We are not a unique city…We reflect the racial disparity across the nation. What makes us different is that we decided to take this first step, not perfect, not complete.”
Rabbi Andrea London is Senior Rabbi of Evanston's Beth Emet The Free Synagogue.
“For too long the Jewish community has remained quiet on reparations…Working to create a more just and compassionate society is core to who we are as a congregation,” she says.