One City Is Already Making Reparations Payments

Evanston, Illinois is sending checks — long before the debate even gets started at the federal level about whether reparations are possible.

Robin Rue Simmons, as seen in the trailer for “The Big Payback.” (Color Farm Media)

Reparations to Black Americans are not theoretical. In fact, one American city began distributing payments this year. 

In this episode of the podcast, Next City Executive Director Lucas Grindley talks with Trevor Smith from Liberation Ventures about how Evanston, Illinois, and other cities and institutions are moving reparations from discussion into reality. Smith, who is the group’s director of narrative change, says reparations have far-reaching potential to “transform systems.”

We also meet Robin Rue Simmons, the former 5th Ward alderman who led the passage of what became the nation’s first municipal-funded reparations legislation. Today she is founder of FirstRepair, a nonprofit which educates leaders about how to advance their own local reparations policies.

“This is a great moment in history,” Simmons, who is featured in the documentary “The Big Payback,” says. “So much momentum is happening in the reparations movement.”

Listen to this episode below or subscribe to Next City’s podcast on Apple, Spotify or Goodpods.

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