Kendall Tietz, Fox News, November 5, 2023
More than 60% of every ethnic and racial demographic group think reparations in Evanston, Illinois, are good policy for the city, according to a new study conducted by Northwestern University’s Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy (CSDD) and NORC at the University of Chicago.
In 2019, Evanston created a government-funded reparations program and two years later, in March 2021, the Evanston City Council voted 8-1 to approve a reparations plan that would provide $25,000 for qualifying Black residents to address harms caused by a pattern of housing discrimination and segregation that existed between 1919 and 1969.
The move made the Chicago suburb the first city in the country to provide government funds to address slavery and past discrimination of Black Americans in America.
As of Aug. 16, 2023, Evanston had disbursed $1,092,924 in reparations funds through the Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program.
As part of the survey, Evanston residents were asked two questions: whether they believe the reparations program is good public policy and how the passage of the reparations ordinance impacted their trust in city government, the Chicago Tribune reported. The study surveyed 3,500 Evanston residents, about 5% of the city population, between February and June.
Results showed 70% of White respondents, 64% of Black respondents, 61% of Latino respondents and 62% of Asian respondents believe the program is a good public policy for the city, according to a Northwestern University press release. Previous surveys nationwide have never recorded more than 20% support among White Americans for reparations.
In addition, after the Evanston City Council voted to pass the reparations ordinance, it led to double-digit net increases in trust of city government among all ethnic and racial demographic groups, as well as across all nine of the city’s wards, the press release said.
“The survey is the first feedback that we have on an operational reparations program, so it is incredibly important that the majority of opinion across racial groups views reparations positively,” Tabitha Bonilla, the director of the CSDD Poll and coauthor of the survey, said. “The data suggests that Evanston’s reparations program can be instructional for other municipalities and governments that wish to establish reparations programs.”
Director of Northwestern’s Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy Alvin Tillery said the study’s authors “expected to find more support for reparations” in Evanston “than we might see in other parts of the nation” because the city’s population “is highly educated and has been very engaged in conversations about racial equity over the past several years.”