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Evanston, IL becomes the first city to pay reparations for its anti-Black housing policies

Centuries of history and decades of scholarly research have left no doubt that the legacy of slavery, post-slavery economics, Jim Crow laws, redlining, discriminatory lending, and other anti-Black policies have made it unfairly difficult for Black Americans to accumulate wealth. In 2016, the net worth of a typical white family was $171,000, while that of a Black family was $17,150—a staggering disparity that illustrates the impact of generational wealth.

Put plainly, money makes money, and racist policies have directly kept money out of the hands of Black Americans for generations. (Not to mention the wealth that was literally taken from Black people's labor and placed in the pockets of white enslavers for generations.) That's the impetus behind the idea of reparations—that the damage done by actively denying people economic opportunity due to the color of their skin be repaired financially.

Whenever the topic of reparations comes up, there are naturally questions about who, how, how much, and why. As Trevor Noah pointed out, that's mainly a conversation for Black Americans to have with the U.S. government. But one municipality has come up with a form of reparations for local residents that answers those questions directly.


Evanston, Illinois has become the first city in the nation to pay reparations to some of its Black residents for its historical discriminatory housing policies. In a vote of 8 to 1, the city council voted to approve distributing the first $400,000 to qualified residents, giving individual households up to $25,000 to be used for home repairs or down payments on property.

To qualify, a resident must have lived in Evanston or been a direct descendant of a Black person who lived in Evanston between 1919 and 1969, and must have been impacted by housing discrimination due to city ordinances, policies or practices. The city banned housing discrimination in 1969, but a 77-page historical report, "Evanston Policies and Practices Directly Affecting the African American Community, 1900 - 1960 (and Present)" details the segregationist practices in housing, employment, education and policing before that.

"While the policies, practices, and patterns may have evolved over the course of these generations, their impact was cumulative and permanent," the report authors wrote. "They were the means by which legacies were limited and denied."

The $400,000 being allocated now to 16 families is just the beginning, as the Chicago suburb has plans to distribute $10 million over the next 10 years. Funding for the program is coming from donations and from a 3% tax on recreational marijuana, which became legal in Illinois in 2020.

However, not everyone is thrilled with this form of reparation, even among Evanston's Black residents.

The one council member who voted against the program, Alderwoman Cicely Fleming, told Fox 32 Chicago that she fully supports reparations but feels this housing plan isn't what reparations should be. Rather than putting money in people's pockets and letting them choose how to use it, these grants will go straight to the banks and lenders and contractors. So while she appreciates that it's a first step in the right direction, she feels that telling Black residents they have to spend reparations money a certain way isn't in the spirit of what reparations is meant to do.

Others are concerned that the precedent set by Evanston could impact broader reparations programs, and even impede progress on implementation at the federal level. If local anti-discriminatory housing programs are considered formal reparations, what does that mean for the big picture of less restrictive monetary reparations nationwide? Some also point out that this program will likely subject Black people to credit checks and government loans, which ironically may limit their ability to utilize the program that's supposed to help the economically disadvantaged.

While Evanston is the first city to formally implement this kind of reparations program, many other municipalities including Amherst, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; Asheville, North Carolina; and Iowa City, Iowa are making similar considerations. In addition, the state of California passed a bill creating a task force to explore what reparations could look like at the state level, and President Biden has expressed support for creating a federal commission to study reparations for Black Americans across the nation. Individual institutions, such as religious denominations and universities, have also taken steps to recompense Black Americans for the impact of their racist histories.

Reparations is a simple concept that is certainly complex to implement, but a formal move toward repairing our nation's historic racist damage is long overdue. We can't undo what's already been done, but we can at least try to make the present and future more equitable by addressing and redressing the lingering effects of the past. Whether Evanston's program is the best way to go about it is unclear, but it's at the very least a step in the right direction.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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via LinkedIn

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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