Chicago: Mayor Brandon Johnson Signs Historic Executive Order to Launch Black Reparations Task Force and Agenda
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CHICAGO ~ Chicago Mayor Establishes Reparations Task Force Ahead of Juneteenth

In preparation for Juneteenth, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has taken a significant step towards addressing the historical wrongs committed against Black Chicagoans. On June 15th, Mayor Johnson signed Executive Order 2024-1, establishing a Reparations Task Force to develop a Black Reparations Agenda.

The creation of this Task Force is a testament to the Administration's commitment to co-governance and partnership with members of the Aldermanic Black Caucus, as well as the Mayor's offices of Equity and Racial Justice and Business, Economic and Neighborhood Development. Other key City departments will also be involved in conducting a comprehensive study and examination of all policies that have harmed Black Chicagoans from the slavery era to present day.

Mayor Johnson stated, "Today's Executive Order is not just a public declaration; it is a pledge to shape the future of our city by confronting the legacy of inequity that has plagued Chicago for far too long." He also expressed gratitude towards all those who have dedicated themselves to this cause and emphasized the importance of targeted investments aimed at rectifying decades of deliberate disinvestment in Black neighborhoods and communities.

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Within the Executive Order, Mayor Johnson acknowledges the legacy of chattel slavery and Jim Crow laws as incompatible with the values and principles recognized in the City of Chicago's Equity Statement of Principles. He issues an apology on behalf of the City for the historical wrongs committed against Black Chicagoans and their ancestors who continue to bear injustices.

16th Ward Alderwoman Stephanie D. Coleman also expressed her support for this initiative, stating, "As an Alderwoman, I have remained steadfast in our city making progress wherever possible on reparations." She commended Mayor Johnson's administration for taking concrete action rather than just engaging in discourse and emphasized that this is a major step forward towards addressing deep wounds inflicted by centuries of injustice against the Black community.

The executive order also highlights the cumulative impact of slavery and its aftermath on Black Chicagoans, including disparities in life expectancy, unemployment, homeownership rates, home value, incarceration, and more. It names the legal institution of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and other discriminatory practices upheld by public and private institutions as contributing factors to these disparities.

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The Reparations Task Force established by Executive Order 2024-1 will support the strategy, implementation, and engagement of a Chicago Black Reparations Agenda. In partnership with the City of Chicago and Aldermanic Black Caucus, the Task Force will create a definition and framework for reparations, develop educational tools for capacity building within the City and the public, identify core issue areas for redress and reparative action, conduct a comprehensive study of harmful policies from slavery era to present day, hold public hearings to gather testimonials from those with lived experience of harm, make recommendations for appropriate remedies and restitution consistent with international standards, educate the public on their findings, and identify connections to existing reparative policies and programs in Chicago.

This declaration follows Mayor Johnson's commitment of $500,000 towards studying Reparations and Restoration in the City's 2024 fiscal year budget. With this Executive Order in place, Mayor Johnson is taking responsibility for addressing past injustices and working towards a more just and equitable Chicago for all.

Filed Under: Government, City

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