#WATWB: Reparation in Evanston

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.

14 responses to #WATWB: Reparation in Evanston

  1. Dan Antion says:

    This is an encouraging step. Redlining, while sometimes subtle, was practiced in many cities well into the 1980s. This is a great story to share for WATWB.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I believe it’s important people understand the truth about efforts made to control a race, Dan, and that as a nation, we have to acknowledge and fix the sins of past and present. I am more than happy to share that truth.

  2. Ally Bean says:

    This is a good example of how doing the right thing can lead the way forward. It can’t erase what redlining did, but it can create awareness about it so it doesn’t happen again. Yay Evanston

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’m so pleased that Evanston is being a leader in reparation, but sad to see that 1 in 5 Americans don’t feel it’s their obligation to help in the effort. One day, Ally, perhaps we’ll be the rainbow of the human race rather than the gloom of segregated race.

  3. Wonderful post! So long overdue but such a major step in the right direction. Hope this becomes more prevalent. Thanks so much for sharing this and for being a part of #WATWB. Have a great weekend!😊

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Belinda, I hope other cities and organizations will join in this cause or similar ones that help end racist practices and policy. There is no need for this in today’s world. If we are going to be a civilized and leading nation, we can no longer have the black mark of inequality.

  4. Susan Scott says:

    Mary, these are wonderful, necessary steps taken by Evanston to attempt to address the racial inequalities of the past. The Jesuit donation was very generous. I hope it goes a meaningful way towards benefiting the descendants of the enslaved people it once owned. But more than all the money needed is a change of attitude in each of us. Change begins on an individual level, and hopefully spreads from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Thank you for this lovely #WATWB

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I watched the movie “Harriet” (Tubman) last night and it reminded me how much humanity can change and not change in 150 years. You are right…attitudes and perception must change to eradicate racism and the way people of color are treated. It’s the only way.

      • Susan Scott says:

        Am so keen to see ‘Harriet’ the movie on Harriet Tubman – she’s been much in the news …

  5. Sylvia W. McGrath, Freelance Writer, Literacy Tutor, and Professional Book Reviewer. says:

    It would be wonderful if we could be a civilized and leading nation, we can no longer have the black mark of inequality.
    Thank you so much for sharing.


    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re right, Sylvia. Being a nation of equality and inclusion would make America a true leader, but we have a ways to go.

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