Addressing and eliminating systemic racism in America has been a constant struggle for over a century and it feels that in the last year, we’ve taken a step backward while realizing the pervasiveness of racial bigotry that still exists in this country.
However, there is always hope in the future. It is the Evanston, Illinois, City Council which gives this suburb of Chicago faith in action. Reparation is a positive step for the city and as it states in the article HERE, it is also a model for the rest of the country.
“The city council, which has already committed $10 million over a decade to the effort, will vote on Monday (March 22) to begin with a $400,000 round of payments. The first phase will provide $25,000 to a small number of eligible black residents for home repairs, down payments or mortgage payments in a nod toward historically racist housing policies.”
Redlining promoted racist housing policies in the 1930’s and beyond. You can watch a short video about redlining HERE. In the book, “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson, the reader becomes aware that areas like Harlem were initiated by whites who denied access to housing in other parts of the city. And many landlords charged double the rent for crowded housing, which required the occupants to work two or three jobs in order to afford their home. Escaping Jim Crow laws in the twentieth century did not necessarily mean that African Americans escaped racism.
Evanston is taking a huge step with reparations, even though this may be a single drop in a huge bucket. Congress, other cities and private institutions are also attempting to address reparations for a hateful and dark past.
“In Congress, a bill that would establish a national reparations commission to study the issue has drawn around 170 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, all Democrats. Other cities, including Chicago; Providence, Rhode Island; Burlington, Vermont; Asheville, North Carolina; and Amherst, Massachusetts, have launched initiatives, though none has yet identified specific funding. Private institutions have also announced campaigns. The Jesuit order of Catholic priests last week pledged $100 million to benefit the descendants of the enslaved people it once owned.”
It is with this type of action, and a change of our hearts and minds, that we can move forward as a country toward racial peace and unity of all people who live in its borders. Kudos to Evanston and every other community who commits to change and some form of reparation. It is long overdue.
The “We are the World” blogfest is in its fourth year of a heartfelt journey. The blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world and challenges all participants to showcase the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts, Sylvia Stein, Eric Lahti, Shilpa Garg, and Lizbeth Hart welcome participants and encourage all to join in each month. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month (with a break in December). Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time. You are always welcome!
Click HERE to be part of the Light.