April 30, 2021
The Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, along with Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the African American Redress Network, drafted a letter in support of the Evanston, Illinois City Council reparations program. In 2019, the Council passed Resolution 58-R-19, “Commitment to End Structural Racism and Achieve Racial Equity,” in which it acknowledged past racial disparities perpetuated by the local government through the use of several discriminatory policies.
The reparations measure sets aside $10 million generated from cannabis sales to fund housing and economic development for the city’s black residents. According to Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, the plan redresses the disparity of Black residents being disproportionately arrested for infractions involving marijuana possession, as well as being priced out of their homes.
Before the vote to allocate funds at the implementation phase, a letter was sent to the Mayor, the City Council and the media challenging the constitutionality of the measure. As legal scholars and human rights advocates, we provided at letter that educated the community about the legal framework for the issue. More information regarding Evanston’s reparations programs can be found here.