Evanston plans to use revenue from recreational marijuana for reparations

EVANSTON (WLS) -- The city of Evanston plans to put the money generated from the sale of recreational marijuana into a reparations fund that will be used for investment into the African American community and to make amends for racial inequalities.

There is optimism in the northern suburb about the road forward. The mood was captured at a reparations town hall meeting earlier this week.

The city's $10 million reparations program for African Americans funded by the sales tax on recreational marijuana is getting attention from elected official across the country.

"I understand that a lot of eyes are on us right now, on us as a city and possibly a model that can be replicated in localities across the nation," said Alderman Robin Rue Simmons.

RELATED: Illinois Weed Legalization Guide

Rue Simmons led the charge on the reparations resolution that recently passed the city council. The fund will address racial disparities in Evanston, and some believe the money could make a big impact.

"I, for one, am not particularly interested in a check being written to every single black person," said Dr. Michael Nabors, Evanston/North Shore NAACP. "I don't think that will do that job. But we have to identify specific areas."

Kamm Howard, the Midwest representative for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, is encouraged by the steps Evanston is taking.

"We are very excited about it, not only for the black residents of Evanston but what it can mean for black people around the country," Howard said.

Rue Simmons said failure is not an option, but the disparities will not be solved overnight.

"We will keep trying until it does work," she said. "I think we have a good start in terms of who is at the table helping us think about this."

RELATED: Illinois Weed Legalization Guide: Will your city or town sell marijuana?
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.