An activist who successfully pushed for reparations in her Chicago suburb argued more cities could follow the same model.
Robin Rue Simmons, the former alderman for Evanston, Illinois, spoke at a meeting with civil rights leaders in Annapolis, Maryland, on Monday, encouraging them to follow Evanston’s example. Evanston’s city council was the first in the nation to pass a reparations plan, pledging $10 million over ten years to Black residents.
Rue Simmons argued Evanston had demonstrated reparations could work through a careful approach.
“We’ve proven the concept,” she told the Caucus of African American Leaders, according to the Capital Gazette. “We’ve been dispersing reparations and our city hasn’t blown up and we haven’t had any legal case that has been viable because of our thoughtful legal leadership and a narrowly tailored framework for reparations.”
Robin Rue Simmons, a Reparations advocate, tells CNN she doesn’t know how San Francisco will pay $5 million in reparations to their residents. (Screenshot/CNN/CNNThisMorning)
The former local leader now runs a nonprofit that helps reparations movements in other cities across the country.
Carl Snowden, convener of the Maryland-based caucus, emphasized reparations were the “right thing to do” in Annapolis. The civil rights group hopes the reparations payments will compensate those affected by discriminatory housing policies in Annapolis. They will be submitting their proposal to the Annapolis, Anne Arundel County and Maryland state governments, the Gazette reported.
Other reparations advocates spoke to The Wall Street Journal and expressed similar hopes the Evanston model could be used nationwide.
“I see it as like a test run for the whole country,” Howard University law professor and reparations activist Justin Hansford told the Journal.
Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss added that his city showed how reparations could be a “tangible” reality.