The liberal Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, officially approved the first spending for “reparations” for black residents on Monday evening. It is the nation’s first reparations program, following an 8-1 vote by local aldermen in November 2019.
As Breitbart News noted at the time, the City of Evanston planned to fund the reparations with a new 3% marijuana tax:
Local leaders eye marijuana dispensaries as an attractive source of revenue to reverse what they call the ongoing impact of institutional racist and persisting effects of slavery, according to the Chicago Tribune. “The fund will be capped at $10 million, according to city of Evanston staff reports. City estimates project the marijuana tax could generate $500,000 to $750,000 per year,” the newspaper noted.
On Monday evening, the Chicago Tribune reported, Evanston’s city council finally approved the first payments under the program, targeted at black victims of past housing discrimination:
The specific measure approved Monday in an 8-1 vote establishes a $400,000 housing grant program, the first expenditure of that larger fund.
The resolution approved Monday directs initial funding of $400,000 from the city’s Local Reparations Fund to a housing program that will award eligible individuals up to $25,000. That money can be used to help with a home down payment or closing cost assistance within the city; help pay for repairs, improvements or modernizations of an Evanston property; or help pay down mortgage principal, interest or late penalties on Evanston property, according to a memo from Kimberly Richardson, interim assistant city manager.
To qualify, an applicant must have “origins in any of the Black racial and ethnic groups of Africa,” according to the memo. Applicants must also be a Black resident of Evanston between 1919-1969, or that person’s direct descendant.
Applicants also qualify if they experienced housing discrimination due to the city’s policies or practices after 1969.
Evanston is one of the most liberal towns in the nation. It is also home to Northwestern University, and was once an important center of the temperance movement.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.